Mom and Dad are great, but every kid knows that Grandma and Grandpa are the real heroes. They’re the ones who let you have a second cookie with your after-school snack, cheer extra hard at your dance practice, or sneak you that $20 bill (even when you don’t really need it).
Well, that is if you have grandparents who are actively involved in your life. There are many children who don’t get to experience any type of relationship with their grandparents if they choose to be uninvolved. Whether they’re too busy or just have a “been there, done that” type of attitude, having uninvolved grandparents is a somewhat common occurrence.
However, it’s really important for both kids and parents for grandparents to be involved in their grandchild’s life. In fact, there are tons of benefits when these role models actually “show up” in their lives.
If there’s anyone who can love your child as unconditionally as the parents can, it’s the grandparents.
“A grandparent who shows up is present,” says one mom, Elizabeth Broadbent, who has parents who are very involved in her kids’ lives. “They hug your kids. They ask about their day. They love them. Your kids get one more person in their lives who care about them, and that’s worth more than anything else.”
And because grandparents have already been through raising a child into an adult before, they know just what to do—and typically, they choose not to take it as seriously this time around, whether that means extra dessert or toys on toys.
“My mother treats my sons like tiny monarchs. She always carries cans of freaking Pringles in her purse for them,” Broadbent says. “Every time they come over, she hands them small presents. Lego minifigs. Tiny notebooks. Pez dispensers. And when dessert rolls around, there are at least three options.”
On top of the kids, having involved grandparents also benefits the parents. “Some nights, we’re exhausted and tired and just don’t feel like adulating,” Broadbent explains. “And there’s my mom with chicken and dumplings. Oh my god, what a damn relief, to go over to your mom’s house and get fed.”
Grandparents are the best babysitters. If children are lucky enough to have grandparents who enjoy watching then while their parents are out, they all know they’ll probably let their grandchild watch more of an off-limits type of movie or help make ice cream sundaes—in other words, they know it’s going to be much more fun if a random nanny watches them.
And vice versa, the parents get to go out and have a romantic date night—something a lot of parents don’t always get to have if grandparents aren’t involved.
And let’s not forget about all those other little-but-big things grandparents might do for you. “They remember your birthday and make you a cake. They give your spouse (your spouse!) a birthday card and a present. If you need to cry because you have to put your dog to sleep, that grandparent’s right there for you,” Broadbent says.
“A grandparent who shows up isn’t just showing up for the kids,” she concludes. “They’re showing up for all of you.”
If you’re lucky enough to have a grandparent who “shows up,” take a minute to thank them today.
Did you ever have a good relationship with your grandparents? We’d love for you to share what the most memorable memory you have with them is!