Celebrating Grandparents' Day: 4 Priceless Ways Grandparents Impact Your Child's Development

This weekend we celebrate Grandparents' Day, a national holiday that is also celebrated in many other countries. It may be evident to most that the holiday aims to recognize the special bond grandparents have with their grandchildren.

grandparents with child

However, this unique holiday also highlights grandparents' essential role in their grandchild's overall development. Many studies have found that one of the critical parts of their development is where they live and who raises them. No matter whether they live near or far, every grandparent plays a role. 

We've found a few different ways grandparents support families and why it's important to celebrate their presence in our lives this holiday.

Baby and Grandparent

Caregivers

Grandparents play a vital role in supporting their adult children by taking care of their grandchildren. In fact, 1 out of 4 children under the age of 5 is cared for by their grandparents, while parents attend work or school. While some grandparents may step in and watch their grandchildren for a few hours as needed, others may watch them full time, especially in collective cultures with larger family structures.

Sources of Insight

Besides offering child care, grandparents can also be a source of insight and wisdom in influencing their adult children's parenting styles. In doing so, experts suggest that advice given by grandparents is best received when their relationship with their children is warm and respectful. In more challenged or estranged relationships, grandparents should be cautious when offering advice, especially if it's not asked for.

Teachers

Grandparents often have more time to give focused attention to their grandchildren, which helps develop a unique bond between them. This bond also promotes them to be great teachers that bring a fresh enthusiasm to learning. In teaching their grandchildren basic activities such as reading, writing, or art, grandparents also teach children about family culture. By discussing their family's history and introducing them to traditions, grandparents set the tone for how the child sees themselves in the world.

Love & Support

Aside from learning together, grandparents are excellent sources of love and affection for your little one. Grandparents are often great playmates that provide lighthearted interactions for your child. Since parents typically take on the role of disciplinarian, grandparents can step in as trusted friends and confidants. This relationship offers another level of love and comfort that aids their grandchildren's healthy brain development.

Grandparent with Child

Each of these ways of support doesn't have to be limited to grandparents who are physically present with their grandchildren. If a grandparent is far away, they can also send cards or use tools like FaceTime or Skype to maintain the same connections with their grandchildren.

While Grandparents' Day reminds us of why we should cherish them, the holiday can also remind us of their absence in our lives. The reality for some is that a grandparent may no longer be alive, or the relationship may be strained to the point of little to no communication.

But, in all that grandparents bring to our lives, the same love and support can also be provided by other trusted family members or friends.

Grandparent with baby

No matter if your child has a relationship with their grandparents or another loving family member or friend, the connection can still be celebrated. Children grow from every ounce of love we give them, and that comes straight from the support of those around us.

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