Study Reveals the Effect That the Bond Between Grandparents and Grandchildren Has On the Health of Both

If you’re like many parents, you have a full-time job, and you may not have as much time as you would like to spend with your children. Schools have after-school programs for reasons like this, and there are always babysitters, but it turns out that turning to the older generation of the family might actually be the best idea of all.

It turns out that when grandparents spend time with their grandchildren, everyone benefits. As parents, we may not always like having our parents step in and give us parenting advice, but maybe they know a thing or two that we haven’t learned yet. They did raise us after all, and we survived. We also might feel like it’s a burden asking our parents to babysit, but we shouldn’t. They probably love spending time with their grandchildren, and one study out of the Institute of Gerontology at the School of Social and Public Policy in London proves that it’s also good for their health.

That’s right. When grandparents are actively involved in the lives of their grandchildren, their quality of life improves. Now, as the study pointed out, it’s important that the grandparents aren’t burdened by lots of responsibilities that cause them to worry. Obviously, that’s not good for anyone’s health.

This study was conducted over a period of 5 years, and the participants included 8,972 women and 6,567 men who were at least 50 years old and who had at least one grandchild. The grandparents lived in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, France, Italy,  the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Okay, so it’s good for grandparents to be involved in the lives of their grandchildren, but parents might still feel bad sending the kiddos over to grandma’s house for a date night. Don’t. The University of Oxford conducted a study that included 1,596 children in Wales and England, and it found that grandkids who spend time with their grandparents had improved social and emotional well-being. In fact, as one of the authors of the study, Dr. Eirini Flouri, put it, “close relationships between grandparents and grandchildren buffered the effects of adverse life events, like parental separation, because it calmed the children down.”

The study found that children actually really do like spending time with their grandparents. They find it very satisfying, especially as pre-teens. They feel comfortable talking to their grandparents about problems they are experiencing, and they love seeing their grandparents at any activities they are involved in.

There you have it. Parents, ask your parents to babysit. It’s good for your kids and your parents. It’s probably also good for your mental health and your relationship with your spouse to have a little kid-free time. 

Are your parents involved in the lives of their grandchildren? Do the results of these studies surprise you?