Timeless October/November 2021 - Page 16

FEATURE

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF GRANDPARENT-GRANDCHILD RELATIONSHIPS Metro Creative Connection

In the not-so-distant past , extended families were the norm , with multiple generations residing on the same street if not in the same house .

Today the family unit is largely an amalgam of different situations . The rise of two-income families has pressured parents into finding childcare situations . Quite often grandparents once again step in to offer guidance and support for youngsters . This can be a good thing for both the grandparents and the grandchildren .
Although a bevy of psychological research focuses on parent-child relationships , new evidence points to the benefits of the grandchild-grandparent relationship as well . Close relationships between these different demographics is often a sign of strong familial ties .
A study from researchers at Boston College discovered that emotionally close ties between grandparents and adult grandchildren reduced depressive symptoms in both groups . Research at the University of Oxford among English children between the ages 11 and 16 found that close grandparent-grandchild relationships were associated with benefits including fewer emotional and behavioral problems and fewer difficulties with peers .
Adult and grandchildren alike benefit from relationships with their elders . Grandparents can provide a connection and exposure to different ideas while providing a link to family history and knowledge regarding traditions and customs not readily available elsewhere . Nurturing grandparent-grandchild experiences may be easy for families where grandparents live in the same house or close by . For others , it may take some effort . The following are some ways to facilitate time spent together .
• Schedule regular family reunions or get-togethers . Host or plan multi-generation events that bring the family together and expose children to various members of their family .
• Promote one-on-one time . Have grandchildren spend time with grandparents in intimate settings . Alone time can be good for both and offers each undivided attention . A meal at a restaurant or time spent doing a puzzle or craft can be interesting to both generations involved .
Grandchildren can help grandparents feel younger , and grandchildren can learn new experiences from their grandparents .
• Video chat when possible . If distance makes frequent visits challenging , use technology to bridge that gap . Send photos , letters and electronic communications . Tech-savvy grandparents can use Skype or Facetime to stay in touch and speak one-on-one with their grandchildren .
• Share skills with each other . Either generation can play teacher to the other . Grandparents may have certain skills , such as baking , sewing or wood crafts , they can impart that may not be readily taught today . Children can help grandparents navigate computers , video games or sports activities . T
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