"If I'd known that being a grandma was so much fun, I would have done it first!"
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
I read that quote soon after becoming a grandma myself and, although it's funny, there is some truth in it. Being a grandma is a lot of fun. (Actually, though, I really enjoyed parenting my kids, too- hard work, and it had its moments, but lots of fun- great memories. )
But I love being a grandma. I remember when grandchild number three was small. He would march confidently out of the toddler room at church following the service. As soon as he caught sight of me, he would shout loudly, "Nannie! Nannie!" and race towards me, arms up, ready to be caught up and hugged.
Even though, like me, you love your new role as grandparent, studies show that being a grandparent is important, too. There are essential ingredients in the recipe of a grandparent that your grandkids, your family, needs.
Don't underestimate your value. Your grandkids need you, and not just because of the hugs and kisses. I think that, possibly without even stopping to think it through, families have always appreciated grandparents. Now.. because people are living longer, more people have grandparents, and studies are discovering all the benefits that involved, caring, open-minded grandparents offer their children and grandchildren.
Grandparents are good for grandkids if they understand their place and don't try to replace the parents or spoil the kids in the wrong way.
I've highlighted five of these ways that kids need their grandparents below.
Grandparents Have Influence
Most adult children who were lucky enough to have grandparents involved in their lives appreciate it, and are thankful they had that opportunity. They often quote the things their grandparents taught them and instilled in them. It's not unusual to hear adults say that their most admired person in their life has been a grandparent.
The amazing thing is that, without being pushy, grandparents are very much responsible for instilling values into their grandkids. This is true even when parents do things a little differently.
Grandparents Reduce Parental Stress
Grandparents who work hard to allow their kids to be the type of parents they want to be, offering support only when needed and asked, tend to reduce parental stress a lot. Most parents get stressed, but if you have a parent you can go to when you need it, without judgment, it makes life a lot easier.
I know it's not easy to sit back and watch your kids struggle in areas where you'd like to step in and help. Sure, you've been there, done that, experienced it all yourself. But, unless you're asked directly to be involved, you have to let your kids work it out themselves. After all, we've been doing that since they first learnt to ride their own bike, haven't we?
And if we don't jump down their necks telling them how they should be doing it, they're more likely to come and ask for advice or assistance.
Even if a grandparent can only offer a listening ear instead of money, that's enough to reduce stress.
Grandparents Are Great Teachers
Due to the long life full of experiences a grandparent has lived, they make great teachers. As people age, they tend to get more patient with kids than they were when they were young, and can explain concepts better because of it.
(If you're lucky enough to have a parent in your life who understands new math, you've got it made.)
But for some reason, kids will listen and accept the sage advice or teaching from a grandparent when they'd probably get annoyed with their own parents.
Grandparents Make Kids Feel Secure
Children often worry about losing their own parents but since they know the grandparents were their parent's parents, they feel safer just knowing they are there. Grandparents act as a safe backup if something goes wrong.
And often kids think their parents know everything (depending upon the age), so obviously the grandparents know even more. This helps children feel secure.
Grandparents Offer Affordable Childcare Options
In some cases, a grandparent is a wonderfully affordable childcare option. Childcare is so expensive. Many times parents feel almost as though they are working merely to cover the fees for the childcare centre. Many grandparents are helping out in this way, even if it's just one or two days per week.
This is something that must be considered on a case-by-case basis, though. Even if grandma or grandpa doesn't want to be a babysitter, they can offer help financially so that their child can do more with the limited time they have. Many grandparents help with schooling costs by buying uniforms or books.
If you're a grandparent who lives close and wants to be more involved, let your child know because often they won't ask.
Children need grandparents very much. If you're a grandparent, understand that your role may be very different to what you thought it would be, but if you keep an open mind and open heart it will be amazing and wonderful.
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Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.