Quality Time with Grandparents Matters Most

By Caroline Henry
February 26, 2024

My grandmother passed away last week. She was 85, and her health had been slowly declining for a few years. But it didn’t make the news any easier to hear when she passed.

When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandma. Sometimes it was because my parents were working and she took care of me. But most of the time, I wanted to be with her. We did fun things together like playing games, shopping, watching movies, and talking about life. She always made me feel special and loved. Nurturing was her superpower.

I know I was lucky to live close to my grandparents. We lived only 15 minutes away, so I got to see them a lot. But studies show that what matters most is the quality of time with grandparents, not just how often you see each other.

A recent study found that having a good relationship with grandparents, where you feel close and cared for, can make a big difference in how you feel as you get older. It can even affect things like how you feel about yourself and how well you get along with friends.

So, it’s not about seeing your grandparents every day, but about having a strong connection with them when you do see them. Just like how it’s important for parents to have a good relationship, it’s important for grandparents too. And when grandparents and parents get along, it helps everyone feel happy and safe.

Here are four things grandparents can do to make their time with grandchildren special:

  1. Talk to the parents first: Grandparents need to have a good relationship with their own children first. That way, they can all work together to make sure everyone feels happy and safe. And when grandparents spend time with their grandkids, they should follow the rules set by the parents.
  2. Listen to the grandkids: Instead of telling grandkids what to do, grandparents should listen to them and be interested in what they like. It’s more important to connect with them than to control them.
  3. Share family stories: Grandparents can tell their grandkids about their family history, but they should focus on the good stuff. It helps kids feel proud and connected to their family. And if those positive examples aren’t there, be sure to wait until the child is ready to understand the lessons learned from past generations.
  4. Keep in touch: Even when they’re not together, grandparents can stay connected with their grandkids by sending cards, making phone calls, or video chatting. It shows that they care and are always there for them.

I spent the night with my grandmother well into my late twenties, before my son was born, and before she moved into an assisted living facility. She wasn’t perfect, and she knew that, but she always made me feel loved and cared for. I’m really grateful for her, and I know other grandkids feel the same about their grandparents.

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