grandparentsIn a 2014 Today survey, 54 percent of parents said that their parents spent more time with their children than their grandparents spent with them. And the majority of the grandparents surveyed described their grandparenting style as very “hands-on.”

In other words, getting on the floor and playing! (While I dearly loved my own Granny, I cannot imagine her plopping down on the floor, in her dress and stockings, and playing Barbies with me and my sister.)

Here’s why participation in your grandkids’ lives is important … for all parties involved:

Communication. Kids may open up to you about things they normally wouldn’t tell their parents. Conversely, they may be more likely to listen to you and heed your advice. But sometimes an ear is the most important thing you can offer them.

Attention. Parents often don’t have the time to give their children one-on-one attention, especially when there are several kids in the family. You, on the other hand, can single out each of your grandkids and make them special in their own right.

Family stories. Telling your grandkids stories about the family is fun for you, but it can also have a big impact on the kids. Research shows that children who have a strong “family narrative” have better emotional health and higher self-esteem. Also, a funny or enlightening story or two about their parents as kids can help them see that their parents are fallible, human and weren’t always the mature adults they are today.

But the kids certainly aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits in this relationship! Getting on the floor and acting like a kid again can help you loosen up and reduce any stress or anxiety you may be experiencing. Not to mention, experiencing the world through the eyes of a child is always a good thing!

Share how you interact with your grandkids.

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