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Pocket of Joy: Close Grandparents

One of the best decisions I ever made in my life was to settle close to my parents before having a child. I even convinced my parents to move right into my neighborhood after they retired, a ten-minute walk from my backyard, and everyone in my family has benefited from the arrangement.

Grandparents and grandchildren are great for each other's physical, mental, and emotional health. And the support grandparents can provide in helping to care for and raise a child benefits the child's parents. Over the past year, I think we all realized just how important it is for parents to have reliable and safe childcare, and unfortunately our nation has some work to do to provide for the needs of working class families. Those of us fortunate enough to have parents who are willing and able to help us care for our children are blessed indeed. Close relationships between grandparents and grandchildren create well-being and resilience in every generation of the family.

It is wonderful to have my parents so close and available that my husband and I have our childcare needs covered. But grandparents, of course, are more than just babysitters. They're additional adult family members who care deeply about my daughter and have a deep bond with her. They provide her with a break from being with her parents all the time, which is important for a child entering adolescence. They "spoil" her a bit with the traditional extra sweets and playful mischief, but they also teach her and guide her in different ways and styles than her parents do. She knows she can cut loose and get away with a few more things at her grandparents' house, but she also takes pride in helping to cook and wash dishes in order to feel like a contributing member of the family.

Living near my parents is also amazing for all of us as we complete home maintenance and repair projects. It's easy and convenient for us to pop back and forth to help each other out, lend tools, and stay at each other's homes during construction. 

Having grandparents who are close both physically and emotionally is wonderful for my daughter, and their relationship benefits everyone in three generations of our family. When I was young, I couldn't imagine coming back to my "boring" hometown to live, but now I'm glad that I did. My youthful travel adventures were marvelous, but now I understand the value of putting down deep roots too. Having my parents nearby and so invested in the care of my daughter has been priceless.

If you have a decent relationship with your child's grandparents and want to strengthen their connection, Psychology Today offers some useful tips for nurturing a strong and beneficial grandchild-grandparent bond.

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