How grandparents and great-grandparents play a unique role in our lives and the lives of our children.
My Papa taught me to play the piano and took me on summer trips to Canada, Salem, and Howe Caverns. My Grandma always brought a large family together in celebration of the holidays. And my Granny sang songs, played card games, and baked the most delicious chocolate chip cookies.
Grandparents connect children to the family's traditions and heritage. Whether it is stories about days gone by, chests full of heirlooms, or an amazing recipe handed down, grandparents are a tie to the past and an important part of building the future.
And grandparents are a wonderful model for how to play with children. I have learned so much from my parents and in-laws as they create magical fun for my children with just a few simple props--like dining room chairs and a sheet or a few plastic cups and a tennis ball. Never underestimate the creativity of a loving grandparent!
The littlest infants benefit most from consistency in care, but as their world widens, they begin to enjoy the variations that come from other loving family members. A 2008 study suggested that grandparents may just be the safest babysitters around. And don't forget Mom and Dad--they benefit from the break! I love the feeling at family gatherings when my mom grabs my baby boy for hugs and my mother-in-law patiently reads a book for the fifth time to my preschooler. It is the tingly feeling of...freedom.