Spending time with their grandparents has so many benefits to children, study says
My own dad always says that grandchildren are life's dessert.
And seeing just how much my parents love being grandparents to their now five young grandchildren really makes me think that this is all sorts of true.
Grandchildren must be like getting to do it all over again, yet with more sense and more time and a better understanding for just how fast the years go by. It means getting all of the cuddles and the firsts and the fun, without having to be the one to stress over messy rooms or nutrition and schedules.
And there is no denying that having grandchildren around is all sorts of good for grandparents – but did you know that spending time with their grandparents is also of huge benefit to children?
According to a study from the University of Liege in Belgium, researchers found that children who said they felt “happy” or “very happy” when they saw their grandparents were less likely to believe in ageist stereotypes.
Yup, it's true. Spending time with grandparents hugely affected how children view older people.
Researchers interviewed 1,151 children between the ages of 7 and 16 about getting old, and what they thought of the elderly. They found four factors that made an impact on their views: gender (girls felt more positively about the elderly than boys), age (10-12-year-olds were the least ageist), their grandparents’ health (those with healthier grandparents had more positive views of the elderly and aging), and, most of all, the quality of their interactions (by “quality” they mean whether they were positive or negative experiences.)
And fear not if you live too far away from grandparents for you all to see each other every day. In the study, they discovered that quality was far more important than quantity when it came to time spent together.
However, note that the children with the most positive views overall were 10-12-year-olds who had positive interactions with their grandparents at least once a week.
“For many children, grandparents are their first and most frequent contact with older adults,” explains Stephane Adam, one of the study's co-authors. “Our findings point to the potential of grandparents to be part of intergenerational programs designed to prevent ageism. Next, we hope to explore what makes contacts with grandparents more rewarding for their grandchildren as well as the effects on children of living with or caring for their grandparents.”