August 5, 2014

What can parents learn from grandparents about looking after their kids?

Though most parents know that they can learn a lot from their own mum and dad, the specifics of what grandparents can teach their kids and their grandkids will change from family to family and often depends on how willing parents are to accept and appreciate the advice offered.

However, with years of experience and the benefit of hindsight, grandparents are an incredibly valuable source of information and one that no parent should overlook.

So what exactly can new parents learn from their mums and dads and how can grandchildren benefit from intergenerational cooperation?


Understanding child development

As grandparents have seen the entire arc of child development from the cradle to adulthood, they have a much deeper understanding of the different stages that children go through and how different factors can affect their growth.

Parents can learn a huge amount from grandparents, helping them to nurture their own children and help them develop as best they can.

In a more direct way, grandparents can also help child development in a more direct way as a recent study funded by the Nuffield Foundation showed that children who are looked after by grandparents develop significantly better in many ways than those cared for by nurseries.

Not panicking

Whether it’s because of bad behaviour, an illness or a late developmental phase, new parents are prone to panicking about their children.

Grandparents on the other hand have extensive experience of a range of child-related issues and are often more able to approach a situation objectively while still keeping the best interests of the child at heart.

This can be especially valuable in single parent households where one person is responsible for the decision making, as grandparents can provide an educated and authoritative second opinion.

Influencing development

Apart from sharing their extensive knowledge and experience with parents, grandparents can also help to look after grandchildren by influencing them directly.

As grandparents are generally not around as much as parents, they can hold more authority with grandchildren, giving them increased influence in a number of areas.

In fact, around four out of five teenagers say that grandparents are the most important people outside of their immediate family, showing just how important their influence is on child development.

If this has made you think about what your own parents could teach you about child rearing, why not go and visit them at their house or their McCarthy & Stone retirement home and find out just how much they can help?