I fondly remember spending time with my grandparents. From traveling in their 1970-something Ford Cortina to visiting where they live and seeing the funny things they did, I remember many good times. There were times we would sleep on the living room floor on airbeds in simple home. I remember my grandfather teaching us to do finger curls to make our fingers stronger. And I remember the love they showered us time and time again. To say my grandparents played a vital role in my upbringing is an understatement. As I watch friends have young children of their own and see how their parents help, I have no doubt grandparents play an important role in the family.
In each family the role they play is different. Age, distance, and finances can play a role in how often the grandparent interacts with the grandchild or children. However, the digital age is making communication even more possible with Skype and FaceTime. It is not a replacement for in-person interaction, but it is a way to stay connected. This means that the importance of grandparents is vital no matter what the involvement. In this article, we explore why grandparents are so important and the roles they play in the family.
A recent survey suggests 2.2 million people will live in multi generational homes in the UK by 2025. This means that grandparents are a large portion of the population, and in many families they become caregivers to the grandchild or even the grandchild’s closest family. This is a critical role to help keep families stable and raise well-balanced grandchildren. They play roles beyond that of caregivers, however. Below are just a few additional roles they play.
Grandparents MatterAccording to Dr. Karl Pillemer of Cornell University, “The relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is second in emotional importance only to the relationship between parent and child. Children benefit when grandparents are involved in their lives. But grandparents also enjoy benefits from the relationship with their grandchildren.” They not only get joy and benefits out of this symbiotic relationship, but it is as critical in nature as it is to a mother bear and her cubs. Without it, a child may not develop as fully as possible.
They Make a DifferenceGrandparents instill values and knowledge in the lives of grandchildren. And these may be similar to those instilled in their children, but they may also be ones that come from a different school of thought that has been lost. They teach values and lessons that have timeless meaning, such as how to converse and have manners in a digital world. In fact, a recent AARP survey revealed that 78% say they have discussed values with their grandchildren.
They Teach HistoryGrandparents carry stories. They carry stories about the times they lived in, the experiences they had, the way things used to be, and big events that shaped the nation. They have stories about divisive issues from our past. They also have stories about family history that helps grandchildren learn about their culture and background. These stories and family histories not only keep the past alive, they also teach valuable life and character lessons. There is no stating the importance these lessons carry in how a grandchild grows and makes choices in their life.
Many Raise GrandchildrenMany grandparents provide basic needs for a grandchild. In other words, they are primary caregivers. Also, it is likely that more take care of grandchildren on a regular basis but are not listed as primary caregivers. These children might otherwise wind up in the foster care system or be put up for adoption. Suffice to say, grandparents keep grandchildren out of systems that can damage them for life. They step up in times when the need is greatest, which makes them superheroes.
Grandparents Love It!One study revealed that 72% “think being a grandparent is the single most important and satisfying thing in their life.” If you think about it, this makes sense. Grandparents are looking for mental and emotional stimulation just like anyone else. And providing care and love to a grandchild allows them to do this, which is healthy for them as they age. Plus, it allows grandparents to stay healthy because they aren’t just sitting in rocking chairs. Many exercise regularly by walking, dancing, and playing sports with their grandchildren.
It Benefits the ParentsRaising children is hard. No one will argue with this. Grandparents help alleviate some of the responsibilities of parents, which can give them a much-needed break and support them and their grandchildren. This may take form by way of spending money on basic needs, such as clothing, daycare, or gifts. In fact, a survey by MetLife showed that grandparents spend an average of £1,400 on their grandchildren annually. Moreover, they can offer advice to parents in times of need to be supportive and loving. This bundle of financial aid and love helps both the parents and the grandchildren.
The role grandparents play does not stop at these examples. They are known for giving back to the community by volunteering their time, money, and clothing via donations. They offer perspective grandchildren would otherwise not get, are nurturing, and bridge generational gaps. Indeed, grandparents are an essential part of the family structure.
At Telecare24, we recognise the role grandparents play in the family. We have fond memories of our grandparents, after all. That is why we offer a wide range of careline equipment to help keep them safe so that their grandchildren can benefit from them for as long as possible. To learn how we can help protect the national treasures we call Grandma and Grandpa, call us today!