Scientists have now completed a study that confirms grandparents who babysit live longer than those who don’t. That’s happy news for grandparents everywhere, not to mention parents who need a break!
In fact, the study showed grandparents who were babysitters in some form or fashion were found to have a whopping 37% lower mortality risk than adults of the same age who have no “caring responsibilities.” (Source: NHS)
That’s mindblowing! Call your Mom right now and ask her to babysit!
Why Grandparents Who Babysit Live Longer
Science can’t yet explain with 100% accuracy why the dramatic lower mortality risk occurs when grandparents spend more time with their grandkids. They know it does, but they are having to guess at the “why.”
They do have a pretty good idea, though.
They believe time spent with grandchildren creates a sense of purpose and also helps keep grandparents physically and mentally active.
Anyone who has ever been around a kiddo for more than a few minutes will totally get that.
No matter their age, grandkids are a bundle of life and movement and joy. It’s not surprising that being around that kind of life energy is absolutely healing and healthy.
Encourage Your Parents to Spend More Time With Your Kids
For a number of reasons, I think it’s not unusual for some grandparents to spend less time with their grandkids than they really want to.
Think about it from their perspective. It can be a challenge for grandparents to figure out where they fit.
Babies cry and want their moms. It’s been a minute since grandparents had babies of their own. They don’t necessarily have the same kind of patience it takes to care for a baby. There’s a reason why nature put a limit on our ability to make babies as we age!
Toddlers destroy everything in sight and have boundless energy. Your parents or inlaws may feel like they don’t have what it takes to keep up. Additionally, their houses probably aren’t toddler-proof and they might like things “just so.”
Elementary-aged children are busy exploring what it means to have their own little world of friends. Grandparents can see themselves as no longer interesting to their grandkids. Maybe they’re worried that kids won’t be excited to spend time with them because they don’t play with them the way their friends do.
Your job as a parent is to help grandparents see that their contribution to your children’s lives is invaluable.
It doesn’t matter what particular skill or ability they bring to the table, grandparents are an incredibly important part of the team it takes to raise happy, healthy adults.
Remind them that being loved and cared for by a grandparent is different than any other love your kids will ever get.
Most of us have the sweetest memories of growing up with a Grandma who thought we hung the moon or a Grandpa who taught us to whistle.
Those memories last a lifetime.
In closing, you should call the grandparents and give them a nudge if they need one. If they’re already actively involved in the lives of your kids, call them and let them know they’re probably going to live longer! It’ll make them smile, right?
PS: if the grandparents need something fun to do, tell them to get in the kitchen with the grandkids and make some Pokemon Twinkie Treats or create an awesome DIY bubble refill station in the backyard. They’ll love it!