Today’s grandparents are more than the occasional visitors who bring gifts. Grandparents have an irreplaceable role in a child’s development. According to the American Sociology Association, grandparents and grandchildren have measurable effects on each other’s psychological well-being. These pillars of wisdom, strength, and support have unique connections with their young grandchildren that foster the kids’ learning and development. Keep reading to learn more.

In 2011, US Census Bureau stated that 24% of children under the age of 5 were routinely cared by a grandparent. Complementing that, on 2012 MetLife stated that when asking grandparents their reasons for providing care to grandchildren 58% answered “because I enjoy doing it”.

Unlike the first time around (when they were raising you), they are more confident and relaxed around children, which makes them excellent playing buddies and role models. Playing buddies? Yes! Often when we hear the word “grandparent” we think of an elderly person. Well, the MetLife report stated that the majority of grandparents are in between 46-64 years old. It also projected that by 2020 there will be 80 million grandparents in the world, which means nearly one in three adults.

For a kid, having a grandparent around means having the perfect companion for fun, creativity, and imagination. Not only can they introduce your little one to more interactive games they wouldn’t have learned otherwise, but they will also play the imaginative dress-up games as well.

When parents might feel a bit overwhelmed with all the responsibilities, grandparents are there to remind the family to remain light-hearted and enjoy the joys of life. According to the American Grandparents Association, 72% of grandparents think being a grandparent is the single most important and satisfying thing in their lives!

Grandparents also give your little one a wider understanding of where they come from by sharing their values, cultural heritage, and family history. Sometimes it’s easier for a kid to listen to their grandparent than any other adult. Their tremendous amount of experience makes them the perfect storytellers; especially when it comes to telling anecdotes about your younger self!

Grandparents also provide your little one with a sense of security. Being their parents’ parents makes them wise and reliable in the eyes of your kid; allowing them to develop a close relationship from very early on. Studies have also shown that having a close relationship with a grandparent has positive effects during the teenage years; a time when your child might go through behavioral and social changes and needs an extra ear.

Arthur Kornhaber, M.D., founder of the Foundation for Grandparenting and author of several books on grandparenting, mentions “You might say there’s an ‘elder hunger’ for the wisdom of older people. When grandparents share their time and life stories with adolescents, they also share their heart and spirit. That’s a powerful and rewarding experience for both generations”.

Although distance may separate some families from frequent face to face interactions, technology is an amazing tool we can use to keep that relationship flourishing. Studies done with toddlers and Facetime show that at about 17 months your little one knows who they’re taking to and can actually get something meaningful out of the video chat. Plus, this tool is authorized by the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. So, you can rest assured knowing that your little one can still have a close relationship with their grandparents even from a distance. Of course, when you do get those face to face interactions make sure you make time to maximize the quality and fun of them!

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