Research says there are health benefits for children who grow up close to their grandparents
"They are life's dessert" is how my father always describes his five grandchildren.
To him, to both my parents, becoming grandparents, five times over, was really just that.
It was the icing on the cake. The most amazing gift. The best thing about their life.
And the feeling is very much reciprocated by all their grandchildren.
And as it turns out – having grandparents who play a big part of in their lives is all sorts of good for children – in fact, we all know the saying about how it takes a village to raise a child – well, if that village includes your children's grandparents, they are extra lucky.
There are actual health benefits for kids who have grandparents actively in their lives, according to the report released from researchers at the University of Oxford.
And not just because of how handy it is for mums and dads to have babysitters nearby, but actually, kids with grandparents involved had less emotional and behavioral issues.
The researchers found the same benefits whether it is a grandmother or a grandfather, although they did note that grannies are more likely to nurture the child, while the grandfathers tend to be involved in activities – like helping out by taking your little ones to soccer or GAA practise.
Maybe especially interesting is that these statistics are even stronger for kids who are being raised in divorced or single-parent households. Meaning, of course, it is nice for single mums and dads to know that getting extra help from the grandparents is doing the kids right in more ways than one.
Grandparents, as well helping out with things, also help pass on family memories and stories to children, and studies have shown that feeling connected to your history and to elder members of the family have positive effects on children's sense of belonging and also their mental wellbeing.
Love, emotional support and help are all things that children who grow up with a close relationship to their grandparents can benefit from, and really – did you need another excuse to give granny a call there?