Posted on: August 22, 2019 at 9:57 pm

Many of us underestimate the power of grandparents. Often times when we finally appreciate grandma, we’re too old to recreate those experiences. 

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If you spent much of your childhood with your grandma, oma, nonna or whatever you call yours – you’re bound to have vivid memories of your relationship and the experiences you had with her. 

The smell of her house, the area you played in, her cooking, her home decor, the different tones of her voice, her laugh and smile.

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These thoughts will likely bring goosebumps to your arms and tears to your eyes as you remember your youngest years, with the oldest person you likely knew. 

Grandparents play an essential role in our upbringing, they make families thrive, survive, and push through the hard times. When grandparents pass on, many family traditions are lost. Holidays change, family get-togethers happen less frequently, and memories become more heart wrenching to think of. 

If your family changed when your grandparents passed, it may be worth it to recognize the essential role of grandparents, and the role that they play for your current and/or future children.

There were two recent studies published in Current Biology. They focused on the impact that grandmothers, in particular, have made on the lives of mothers and their children.

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According to NPR, researchers in this first study explored the history of Finland, and an area that is now Quebec, Canada to understand how grandmothers played a role in these populations.

One of the first notable findings is how grandmothers impacted family size, and those who lived farther away from grandma, had fewer children. Women living over 200 miles away had 1.75 fewer children than those who lived closer.

In these olden days, women also had far more children! It was common to have 8 kids, on average. However, child mortality was much higher then. Women who lived closer to grandma, were found to begin having children and younger ages, and they also had decreased instances of child mortality.

In this second mentioned study, the impacts of grandmas in the preindustrial Finish people between 1731 to 1895 were explored. This study also found that women were more likely to have more children when grandma lived close by. This database also revealed that a toddlers chance of surviving was increased by 30% when grandma was around.

Thanks to our modern medicine, many grandmas (and grandpas) tend to live much longer. However, sadly the role that they play is not as momentous as it once was. Many of us wouldn’t dream of living near proximity to our parents, especially if the relationship is a little rocky or strained.

It no longer takes a village to thrive, and that’s because many of us don’t have this opportunity anymore. Times are different now, and many of our parents continue to work into their 60’s and 70’s. Any emotional and financial support is just not what it used to be.

However, if you have children, and tolerable parents, the experience of grandparents has been proved true and true. While they may not be able to offer financial support, or emotional stability, they are an extra set of hands, and lifelong memories for your children.

While parents can oftentimes feel suffocating, I’m sure our parents felt the same thing during our visit to grandma’s – aka the best days of our life.

  1. https://www.scarymommy.com/benefits-living-near-grandma/
  2. Living Near Your Grandmother Has Evolutionary Benefits https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/02/07/692088371/living-near-your-grandmother-has-evolutionary-benefits
  3. Limits to Fitness Benefits of Prolonged Post-reproductive Lifespan in Women https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30008-9

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