Any grandparent will tell you being blessed with a grandchild is a wonderful thing, and it may make you smarter, happier and healthier!
Research shows when you provide care for your grandchildren, truly amazing things start to happen.
Looking after little people is actually great for our brains, bodies and can even help us to live longer.
Caring for children can feel mentally exhausting, however it’s a workout that is good for the brain. Research shows that grandparents who spend time with their grandchildren have better cognitive performance than those who don’t.
A 2014 study by the Women’s Health Ageing Project in Australia, found that post-menopausal women who spent time taking care of their grandchildren had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders than women who did not.
Grandchildren can also help their grandparents learn about new technology and trends, keeping them more up to date.
Improved mental health
While it may not feel relaxing at times, especially if you’re looking after more than one child, caring for grandchildren can lower stress levels. Lots of smiling, singing and laughing have been shown to reduce stress and leave you feeling happier.
Caring for grandchildren also leads to more social interaction, from family events to attending playgroups, even just getting out to the park and chatting to other parents and grandparents. These relationships can reduce the impact of loneliness and social isolation associated with ageing and reduce the risk of depression.
A longer healthier life
Activities like walking with the stroller, pushing a swing and lifting kids in and out of cars, are all mini workouts, that done properly, are great for the body. The increased level of physical activity associated with caring for children can boost overall energy levels making you fitter and stronger. Spending time with grandchildren can also increase your white blood cell count, giving you a stronger immune system.
Finally, a study by Edith Cowan University, published in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behaviour found grandparents that care for their grandchildren could live up to five years longer than those who don’t.
So, its scientifically proven, caring for your grandchildren is a win-win. Not only do you get all the joy, love and cuddles, you’ll also be smarter, happier, healthier and could even live longer.
Don’t worry if you don’t have grandchildren, as the studies found that you can get similar benefits through caring for others and engaging in social interaction, from picking up a loaf of bread for a neighbour to going to a local club. The trick is keeping active and socially connected.