Value of Grandparents in Life of a Grandchild

The unique relationship between a loving grandparent and a cherished grandchild provides countless benefits and blessings to the entire family. Grandparents see through the lens of love and generally have a great deal of patience with their grandchildren. One of the greatest values a grandparent has to offer is their perspective on time. They have already experienced how quickly their children have grown up and have a carpe diem attitude about enjoying as much of their grandchildren’s youth as possible. They are willing to provide time for many valuable things in a grandchild’s life.

Time for fun

Grandparents are willing to find and create fun doing the simplest activities with their grandchildren. Parents are often overbooked and overstressed. Letting children help cook may seem like more work than fun, but not to a grandparent. Let’s make a mess in the kitchen – we can clean it up later. The same goes for art projects. Yes, you can use glitter. Yes, let’s play a board game, play cards, go to the park, dig in the garden, play dress up or build with blocks.  Grandparents realize these simple activities are some of the things most fondly remembered by children. They will make having fun a priority and take delight in every squeal of laughter from their grandchildren.

 Time for teaching

Grandparents can act as a mentor in many ways. They can actually teach lessons or provide opportunities for the child to learn. The child may accept lessons from a loving grandparent without as much resistance as they might from their parent. Grandparents can underscore the values of the parents. Being polite makes grandma and grandpa proud, so they are willing to remember to say please and thank you, to clean up, to listen and obey. Writing a thank you or doing homework with a grandparent can be an event rather than a chore. Grandchildren love to be read stories or to hear stories about when their parents were young. Depending on the age of the child, the grandparent can listen to their imaginative stories or let the child read to them.

Activities like going to museums, trips to the beach or the woods, fishing, carpentry, making models, flying kites – all contain the opportunity for teaching the child while building joyful memories of times spent with a grandparent.

Time for traditions

Traditions include handing down stories, beliefs or customs from generation to generation.  Grandparents can pass on old family traditions or create new ones. There is comfort in knowing that grandparents can be counted on for specific holiday traditions, to tell the same wonderful stories or to repeat certain activities each year.  Children enjoy learning about their heritage and to feel a part of the past. Establishing new traditions can add to the bond between grandparent and grandchild. Perhaps shopping for the needy, attending plays or symphonies, making gifts or volunteering together can become a new tradition to look forward to each year.

Time to be a resource

The palpable relief parents can feel knowing caring and dependable grandparents are ready and willing to step in as a resource in a variety of ways can reduce stress and add stability. This is particularly true when the family is experiencing a problem. During times of financial hardships, illness, divorce or a death in the family, children can become anxious and need additional support and guidance. Grandparents who have developed strong relationships with their grandchildren can be a source of comfort and provide continuity during changes that are frightening and unwanted. Distraught parents need rest during emotionally trying times. Having grandparents around to make sure the basics are taken care of and that as much as possible of the child’s routine is kept provide the very cornerstone of family life – being there for each other. Financial support, emotional support and adding extra hands and hearts during these times is extremely valuable.

Grandparents that do not have the joy of living close enough to see their grandchildren regularly can keep the connection growing when not together. Sending cards, letters, stories, audio tapes or packages to grandchildren is a thrill for both the sender and the recipient. Phone calls, Internet calls such as Skype, emails and texting are also ways to connect with grandchildren of differing ages. The ongoing communication keeps the love flowing and makes the grandchildren feel special.

Creative grandparents find ways to convey to their grandchildren they are cherished no matter how they spend their time together. What better gift can be given to a child?