All the Amazing Health Benefits of Having Grandchildren

Jul 09

Being a grandparent is truly a magical experience. This time you get to enjoy watching a child grow up, without the burden of responsibility. 

And there’s nothing more heartwarming than seeing the smile of your grandchild after you spoil them with the ice-cream their mother won’t allow.

Grandparents and grandkids can have a very special connection, which strengthens as the years go by. It’s important to be involved in your grandchild’s life, so you can pass down all the wisdom and give them a sense of comfort.

What’s more, taking care of your grandkids is also really good for your health. How? Well, keep reading to find out!

#1. Kids Bring Happiness

The process of aging can be pretty depressing. The numerous health problems and the slow-paced lifestyle can really affect people’s mood. But the perfect way to counteract this is being around your grandkids.

Kids are bundles of joy. Their adorable faces, their innocence, and their never-ending curiosity are a delight to watch. 

In fact, the mental health benefits of grandparent and grandchild bonding are more impactful than you think. It gives old citizens emotional support and reasons to smile. 

These benefits aren’t just limited to the younger grandkids. A long-term study by Boston College found that grandparents who were close with their adult grandchildren showed fewer depression symptoms. 

What’s more, the results were the same for the adult grandkids themselves as well. So clearly, spending time with grandkids is a boost for mental health. 

#2. It’s Good for the Old Brain

Babysitting is not just about physical effort. As a grandparent, you’ll also have to use your brain a lot more. So much that, some might even think of it as mentally exhausting.

But if you spend the right amount of time, being around your grandkids can actually improve your cognitive performance. 

This doesn’t mean you have to be with them 24/7. But simply by being involved in your grandchild’s life, like spending one day a week is enough.

A study conducted in Austria with 120 grandmothers showed remarkable scores in their memory and mental exams. Researchers deduced that, those who took care of their grandkids once a week scored much higher than those who didn’t.

#3.  You’ll Stay Physically Active

Taking care of grandkids is a lot of work. They’re filled with unlimited energy and can barely standstill. And this means you’ll be spending most of your day on your toes.

But did you know that all this chaos is actually good for your health? Running around after your grandkids, going to the park and playing with them constantly will keep you fit and in good shape.

A calm retired lifestyle may sound appealing now. But if you’re really inactive, you’ll gradually notice a difficulty in movement, especially when you’re aging. 

Exercise has actually been linked to improvement in motor function for senior citizens. So, even as your grandkids get older, take the time to cheer for them at their games. 

Drop them off to different places and get a breath of fresh air. This will not only strengthen your bond but also keep you physically active.

#4. You’ll Learn a Lot

You may have lived for many years and gained lots of experience – but you’re never too old to learn. And being involved in a grandchild’s life can actually be an eye-opening experience.

Kids these days are all about technology. So, in the process of turning cartoons and experimenting with different apps, you too will become a lot more tech-savvy.

Helping with kids’ homework and talking about personal experiences can be a learning experience for both sides. And if you have older grandkids, you can get to learn a lot about the current generation and their different perceptions. 

#5. Grandkids Keep Loneliness at Bay

Loneliness is unavoidable, especially when you grow old. Your children will probably be busy with their own lives and there’s not much for senior citizens to do.

But when you have a good relationship with your grandkids, this feeling subsides. Believe it or not, it will actually give you a better social life.

You might meet other grandparents or parents while dropping them off to school. You’ll also have countless funny stories of your grandkids to share with your friends.

Holidays will be much more magical because you’ll be making meals and buying presents for the children. Some grandparents even love to travel with their grandkids and take them to historical sites.

This not only creates wonderful memories for their grandchildren, but it also gives seniors a sense of purpose. 

#6. You’ll Get a Stronger Immune System

Children are messy, dirty and aren’t afraid of germs. It’s their time to develop their immune system. But in the process, they might be helping yours too!

Taking care of grandkids means a lot of touching, handholding and hugging. This naturally makes you feel better and releases happy hormones like oxytocin. It also reduces stress. And we all know a happy body, is a healthy one!

According to Dr. Christine Arthur of  Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, a lot of touching reduces inflammatory cells. It also increases the number of white blood cells, which are the disease fighters of our body.

#7. Grandkids Might be the Ticket to a Longer Life

This one might sound like an exaggeration, but it really is backed with science.  A study from the National Health Services actually found that grandparents who took care of their grandkids have longer life spans.

This is no surprise, considering all the benefits already mentioned. In fact, taking care of grandkids reduces the potential for a lot of debilitating diseases as well.

For instance, a study in Menopause Journal found that babysitting grandchildren were linked to lower risk of Alzheimer’s among old women.

So, grandkids not only keep you physically active, which is the key to a healthy life, but they also reduce stress. Mental well-being is undoubtedly linked to longer life spans.

Final Thoughts

Grandkids are truly adorable and If you’re blessed with even one, count your lucky stars.

Although they can wreak havoc and can be quite a handful, taking care of these munchkins is not a daunting task. Once they get older, you’ll truly cherish the memories and have a really strong bond.

Just make sure to keep it in limits and do as much as your health allows you to. In the process, you’ll be helping the parents, your grandkids and yourself as well!