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An Ode to Grandparents

From advice for parents to taking the little one for a day out, Grandparents provide so much wonderful support for young families - and the research backs us up on that! 



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In 2017, a study from the International Longevity Centre revealed that, in the UK alone, around 3 million grandparents are providing regular care for their grandchildren. So, this week, we wanted to share our appreciation for everything grandparents do!

Over the past few decades, improved healthcare standards and longer life expectancies, paired with rising rates of working parents, have meant a sharp increase in the number of grandparents involved in the care of young children and babies. And this has been great for families!

Looking back through history, the presence of grandparents has been a boon. Anthropological studies have shown that communities that included grandmothers also enjoyed lower infant mortality rates, giving rise to the theory that female menopause may have evolved in order for women to aid in the care of their grandchildren.

More recently, studies have shown that grandparental involvement can have a positive effect on mental and emotional health in children.

One study, which followed over 1,500 children, found that those whose grandparents were heavily involved in their lives had fewer behavioural and emotional problems. Another, examining adolescents, found that those who lived with at least one grandparent were less prone to deviant behaviour and depressive symptoms.

Why might this be?

Well, there’s plenty of possible reasons for the positive impact of grandparents, and these can vary greatly from family to family. 

Of course, many of us know how valuable a wealth of information grandparents can have, being able to share with us the knowledge and experience they picked up from raising children themselves.

Often, (especially retired) grandparents are also able to fill in the gaps in parents’ busy schedules, ensuring children have round-the-clock access to that all-important, hands-on care and attention - which, of course, in turn, can help parents to maintain a better balance between self-care and baby care! Grandparents may also be able to help with homework, provide advice and attend school meetings at times when parents are unavailable.

In families who have relocated to other countries, grandparents can provide valuable links to children’s heritage and cultural history.

Additionally, grandparents are able to provide much needed stability and act as a confidante to children of parents who are going through a separation or other turbulent events. And, of course, in other families, grandparents sometimes take on the role of the primary caregiver, raising their grandchildren themselves.

In other words, grandparents have a whole extra set of skills and knowledge that can enrich a child’s learning and development.

So, whether it’s by taking them to the cinema or keeping them fed and clothed, we want to say thank you, Grandparents, for everything you do for our little ones!

Lizzie
Content Creator at MEplace
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