Why Your Kids Needs Their Grandparents

Grandparents are mostly silent, invisible figures in the background of family life. But they have a huge impact on parenting as well as kids’ wellbeing. Here’s why you should make time for your grandparents and remember that every generation is vital to our social fabric!

The “you should spend time with your grandparents essay” is an article that discusses the benefits of spending time with your grandparents. It also has a list of reasons why kids need their grandparents.

Kate and I both lost our last and most cherished grandparents last year – Kate’s grandma, whom she adored, and me, a grandfather whom I much revered.

We’ve been reflecting on the impact these kind seniors had in our lives and in the creation of some of our finest childhood memories as a result of their deaths. Kate remembers spending summer weeks in Florida with Nana, playing cards, crafts, and going back-to-school shopping. I have fond memories of spending Thanksgivings at Grandpa’s New Mexico ranch, waking up to the fragrance of pinion wood and horseback riding.

Not only have we been thinking about our grandparents, but we’ve also been reflecting on how grateful we are for the ties our own children are developing with their grandparents right now.

We could theoretically work from anywhere in the globe as online magazine publishers. Nonetheless, we have decided to remain in Oklahoma, not just because we like living here, but also because both sets of our parents reside here.

Kate’s parents live practically around the street, and her mother looks for Scout when Gus is at school and we are at work. Nana and Jaju’s (the phonetic interpretation of the Polish word grandpa) hosting of Sunday supper, when we, along with Kate’s sister’s family, come to break bread together, is one of the highlights of the week. After supper, the family goes for a neighborhood walk/scooter run, or Jaju brings Gus, Scout, and their cousins upstairs for squeal-inducing roughhousing and the construction of gymnastic devices out of pillow cushions.

Gus and Scout look forward to their trips to see us and our excursions to see them, particularly when they get to have special sleepovers at Nanny and PopPop’s home, which are just an hour and a half away.

This kind of intimate interaction between grandparents and grandchildren has been the standard for thousands of years, with at least one set of the former living not just near by, but occasionally in the same home as the latter.

Grandparents and grandkids nowadays frequently live states away and only see each other once or twice a year in our mobile and fragmented culture. That is, unless Grandma and Grandpa, or their grandchildren’s parents, make it a priority to live near by or visit more often.

Today, we’ll discuss why you should make that goal a priority in your life, and the great advantages that will flow to both grandkids and grandparents if you do.

Grandparents: The Ace in the Hole of Humanity

Anthropologists have long been perplexed by the fact that human women survive so long beyond their reproductive years.

Human women can live for many decades longer than female primates, who die in their 30s while still reproductive. Scientists were perplexed as to why this was the case, since it defied logic from an adaptive standpoint. Older women don’t breed and aren’t as powerful as younger women, yet they nevertheless put a strain on a tribe’s resources. What was their “utility” then?


Researchers have proposed the “grandmother theory” in response to this topic. According to this hypothesis, after their reproductive obligations were completed, elder women in hunter-gatherer communities could focus on two additional significant contributions to their tribe, both of which were linked to their grandkids.

First, grandmothers assisted a tribe in having more children in general by helping to raise their daughters and daughters-in-children, law’s allowing them to get pregnant again. Human women, on the other hand, may theoretically get pregnant every year, but female primates wait 5-6 years between pregnancies.

Second, grandparents could supervise their daughters’ children while their daughters went food shopping, and grannies had more time to shop for their own families. This additional nutrition was critical in ensuring the survival of their grandkids.

Indeed, 45 different studies of historical and contemporary societies in both developed and developing countries found that maternal grandmothers’ involvement had a significant impact on the survival and well-being of their grandchildren (e.g., their involvement in one hunter-gatherer tribe cut the death rate for toddlers in half); by contrast, the presence of a father had only a minor effect. The engagement of paternal grandparents had a beneficial effect as well, however it was less consistent.

What’s the deal with maternal and paternal grandparents having different effects? Across cultures, the former is more likely to aid their grandkids than the latter. Anthropologists believe this is because they are more certain of their genetic ties to those children; a youngster claimed to be a paternal grandmother’s grandchild or granddaughter may not be. Both maternal and paternal grandmothers help their grandchildren, but in different ways that have different effects; maternal grandmothers’ involvement increases the chances of children’s survival (whereas paternal grandmothers’ involvement actually decreases the rate of infant mortality), whereas paternal grandmothers’ involvement increases the birth rate. It’s possible that maternal grandparents’ increased participation with their grandkids is due to the special link that develops between mothers and daughters.

While the influence of grandfathers on children’s survival and flourishing has been understudied both historically and in current times, they are likely to play an important role in their survival and flourishing. As far as biology is concerned, this seems to be the case. While males may procreate well into their fifties, after the age of 30, testosterone levels begin to decline and estrogen levels begin to rise. The “bonding” hormone oxytocin also rises in men’s 50s and 60s. These hormonal changes, which reduce aggressiveness and sex drive while boosting the need for tenderness and caring, encourage older men to shift their priorities away from production and reproduction and toward interaction with their grandkids. Grandfathers’ participation differs from that of grandmothers in that, rather than taking a hands-on approach to child raising, they serve as crucial mentors in instilling skills and values in the next generation.

Overall, the study shows that grandparents and grandfathers have played a critical role in helping their grandchildren survive and flourish, and hence in helping society as a whole survive and prosper, from time immemorial. Grandparents have been dubbed humanity’s “ace in the hole” by anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy for this reason.


Grandparents have a very important role not just in societies and families where basic reproduction and physical survival are paramount issues, but also in individual households. Grandparents of all types — paternal and maternal, grandmothers and grandfathers — provide huge advantages to their grandchildren in the present day, now in the form of increased emotional and psychological well-being.

It’s a formula that works in both directions.

Grandparents’ Benefits to Grandchildren

According to studies, grandkids who have a strong emotional link with their grandparents benefit in a number of ways.

Children who have close ties with their grandparents exhibit greater prosocial behaviors such as compassion and giving, as well as reduced anxiety and despair. Grandfathers’ engagement has been demonstrated to improve their grandchildren’s academic achievement, self-esteem, emotional adjustment, and capacity to establish and keep friends.

Why does having a strong connection with one’s grandparents have such a good impact on a grandchild’s life?

It has to do with the unique love, support, and guidance that only grandparents can offer.

A parent’s love is unique, but it’s also a highly valued commodity throughout a child’s formative years. You’re spinning a lot of plates as a parent. Not only are your children at a high-need stage, but your profession is also firing on all cylinders as you strive to advance and achieve financial stability. Your brain capacity is split into a hundred streams, you don’t always get enough sleep (see: children’s high-need period), you have to keep track of every element of their daily routine, and your responsibility is to be a disciplinarian.

Grandparents, on the other hand, are a step away from the day-to-day obligations of child upbringing and often have fewer balls in the air. They’re frequently nearing the end of their career or have retired completely. They aren’t dealing with children 24/7, are getting enough sleep, and can approach your children with more time, fresh eyes, and undivided attention.

Grandparents, as the cliché goes, have the ability to pamper their grandchildren, which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Sure, your child may not need a dozen of Grandma’s cookies or yet another new toy, but every youngster benefits from more attention and support.

Grandparents provide this support and attention in a number of ways. Dr. James S. Bates, an expert on the influence of grandfathers on their families, categorizes the activities that grandfathers engage in with their grandkids into seven categories (which also apply to grandmothers):

  • The attempt to assist grandkids in learning about and interpreting the family’s past is known as lineage.
  • Mentoring is the process of teaching and passing on practical skills and information to others.
  • Spiritual – providing solace, encouragement, and guidance.
  • Character – attempts to develop and mould the character and personality of grandchildren as they grow into ethical and responsible members of society.
  • Organizing, facilitating, and participating in leisure activities with grandkids is referred to as recreation.
  • Family identity refers to attempts to foster strong family bonds and proper interpersonal interactions among relatives.
  • Work with investments—assisting grandkids in becoming financially self-sufficient as adults.

Between and via these many types of encounters, grandparents surround their grandkids with a special sort of love – one that is often more fun, patient, accepting, and accepting than the love that children experience from their parents. It’s a love that makes you feel comfortable, secure, and at ease. This feeling of belonging is especially crucial throughout puberty, when a kid may not feel like they belong at school or have disagreements with Mom and Dad.


Everything seems perfect in the world when you fall asleep beneath a loved grandparent’s roof, whether you’re a youngster or a teenager. Perhaps it’s because their home is devoid of the commotion and tension of their parents’ home. Perhaps it’s because you’re being watched over by people who have made it through decades of life and are still standing. Perhaps it’s because you know there are people who love you for who you are rather than what you do down the hall.

It’s the type of affection that every child should have as much as possible.

Grandchildren’s Benefits to Grandparents

Grandparents’ benefits to their grandchildren don’t only go one way; they really come back to them.

Grandparents who have the chance to be emotionally close to their grandkids while also providing practical assistance (transport, help with housework or money, etc.) have been proven to have less depression and better psychological health than those who do not. Furthermore, grandfathers who are actively involved in their grandchildren’s lives report higher levels of happiness than grandfathers who are more passive or disengaged, and grandmothers who spend time caring for their grandchildren have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders.

Grandparents who are denied access to their grandkids, on the other hand, experience depressive symptoms. Grandfathers get depression more quickly than grandmothers, and although their symptoms fade with time, deprived grandmothers’ problems persist.

These results aren’t all that shocking. Social ties have been shown to be one of the most important contributors to cognitive and psychological health, whereas isolation has been identified as one of the leading causes of physical and mental deterioration. Elderly men and women who live away from their families have been discovered to have a 26% higher mortality rate over a period of time. Grandparents often express that the love they feel for their grandchildren, as well as the unconditional love they get in return, lifts them up and brings them pleasure.

Grandparenting, on the other hand, provides seniors with a feeling of meaning, identity, and purpose, particularly after they’ve retired from the employment. According to one poll, 72 percent of respondents believe that “becoming a grandparent is the single most significant and fulfilling thing in their lives,” ranking it higher than travel or financial stability.

Grandparents get a sense of fulfillment from participating in all of the duties listed above, such as teaching them new skills, instilling values, handing down traditions, and so on. Working and playing with a fresh generation revitalizes them. It’s a second opportunity for grandparents to participate in child rearing, and many say it’s even better and more pleasurable than the first.

Grandparents, especially males, appear to find joy in knowing that their grandsons and granddaughters will carry on their line; they may gaze at their small grandchildren’s faces and know that a piece of themselves will go on.


Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes asked many renowned men what being a grandfather meant to them while writing her book Becoming Grandma (which, despite the title, is about grandparenting in general), and they all circled around this same notion.

For example, Stahl saw that John McCain, a combat veteran and politician, melted considerably when he longingly reminisced about his grandkids, telling her:

“You should know that my POW companions are dying.” When you hear the clock ticking, you begin to appreciate flowers. I used to never pause to admire flowers, sunrises, or birds. When you become a grandpa, you become more sensitive. And you begin to consider your legacy. You’re aware that those newborns are your ancestors.”

“Aside from the wonderful artist who knows he’s a great artist, what do we have to leave behind?” Stahl asked her 60 Minutes colleague Bob Simon about his grandson before he died. She said, “The passage of the seed.” “Exactly. “Precisely,” Simon agreed. “And it’s completely self-aware.” “What I’m leaving behind is Jack.”

By the way, there are advantages for you as a parent as well. 

It’s worth noting that not only do grandparents and grandchildren have a mutually beneficial connection, but so do the parents who come in between.

It all stems from the same dynamic that existed thousands of years ago on the savanna. Parenting was never intended to be done by two separate people, but rather as a joint, extended family endeavor. Surprisingly, studies suggest that grandparents’ engagement in contemporary families boosts parents’ odds of having more children, just as it did in hunter-gatherer communities; aid from elders makes the job of child-rearing appear more manageable.

Even if you have no plans to expand your family, having grandparents on your side might make all the difference. It’s excellent to have built-in, local babysitters you can rely on and who can be called on short notice in an emergency or when you’re in a hurry. When you and your wife go on vacation, it’s wonderful to be able to leave your children with Grandma and Grandpa. Simply having more hands around to relieve the strain of caring is beneficial; more hands equals lighter, less stressful labour.

Furthermore, witnessing your parents care for your children strengthens your personal relationship with them. You can’t help but admire your parents when you see how much they love your kids and how much they love them, not to mention how glad you are when they take your kids off your hands. Over two-thirds of grandmothers and grandfathers believe that “becoming a grandparent brings them closer to their adult offspring.”

Give your neighbors a chance.

Some parents are hesitant to allow their own parents to become more involved in their children’s lives because they believe their own upbringing was a mixed bag; perhaps their mother’s or father’s parenting style left something to be desired at times, and they don’t want to subject their own children to the same treatment.


No one would suggest entrusting your children to a parent who is emotionally or physically violent, has a drug addiction problem, or is dealing with another serious issue. Give your parents a chance if you’re concerned about their little quirks or the fact that they live a different lifestyle than you.

Your parents may not be the best role models in the world, and they may have beliefs that you don’t want to pass on to your children. However, such difficulties may be overcome. Trust your kids; they’re more capable than you realize of grappling with opposing ideas and deciding for themselves what they think and believe.

Also, remember that grandparents will love and treat their grandkids differently than they did you. It’s possible that you won’t know their new caring approach, and they won’t recognize themselves. For some grandparents, caring for grandkids is a second chance to make up for the time they didn’t get to spend with you and to make up for the things they didn’t do as well as they would have wanted. According to Stahl,

“We probably aren’t any of those things with the baby if we were harsh on you, hypercritical, meddling, smothering.” Our critical ideas get disabled when we stare at that youngster. So please give us another opportunity. Get rid of your rage and bear in mind that your children will benefit.”

For one thing, your parents don’t suffer from the same burden of duties as mid-lifers do. They’re also happier today than they were when you lived with them; studies suggest that happiness declines in one’s 30s and 40s, peaks in one’s 50s, and then begins to rise again. “What this tells me is that newborns are being raised by individuals at the unhappiest period of their life,” Stahl concludes. It’s all the more vital for us [grandmothers] to step in when we’re pleased and content.”

Conclusion: Grandkids and Grandchildren Require Each Other – Help Them Connect.

We’ve been discussing grandparents in an ideal position in this article: ones who are happy, healthy (and simply alive, period), who wish to be involved in their grandchildren’s life. Not all grandfathers and grandmothers fall into this category; some want to be involved with their grandchildren but aren’t physically able, and others are physically able but don’t want to be — they feel they’ve put in their time raising their own children and want to spend their retirement as free and unattached as possible.

However, I hope that the foregoing serves as an inspiration to grandparents who are able and willing to engage in their grandchildren’s lives and seek a close relationship with them.

How near you will be to your and your wife’s parents while planning your life — especially where you will live — is frequently an afterthought, taking a backseat to career choice and living in a “cool” region. Consider moving the grandparent factor higher on your priority list – being close to one’s parents may compensate for many of a location’s shortcomings. (And, really, where you live has a lot to do with how you make it!)


If you are unable to relocate to be closer to your children’s grandparents, be open to the possibility of them relocating closer to you if they are willing. Yes, being close to one’s family may bring stress and headaches, but the benefits often exceed the drawbacks.

If you can’t move closer to your parents, or if they can’t move closer to you, make an effort to help your children communicate with Grandma and Grandpa. Write, text, FaceTime, or Skype with them on a regular basis, pay them visits when you can, go on special excursions with them as a family, and send your kids to stay with them for a week or two every year.

When I watch our kids leap into their grandparents’ arms with pleasure or count down the days until their next sleepover, I’m reminded of how fortunate they are to have three sets of people to support them; three houses in which to feel safe and secure; and six “parents” to adore them.

Don’t deny your children and grandchildren the chance to create such a joy-inducing, meaning-creating, life-enriching, memory-forming bond.

Grandparent-grandchild relationships may be one of your family’s most valuable assets – a genuine ace in the hole.



The “how much time should a child spend with grandparents” is a question that parents have been asking for years. The answer to this question is different depending on the age of your children.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do children need their grandparents?

A: This is a question that I cannot answer.

Why grandkids need their grandparents?

A: Grandkids need their grandparents for a variety of reasons, which are all explained in the following article.

Does a child need grandparents?

Related Tags

  • importance of spending time with grandparents
  • spend time with your grandparents quotes
  • research shows kids need their grandparents
  • importance of extended family in child development
  • importance of extended family in africa