Grandparents Day is the first Sunday after Labor Day. It is a good time to remember how important a grandparent’s role can be in the life of a child. In today’s fast-paced and technology-focused society, a grandparent’s role may include sharing family history and teach children about family traditions.

Every family is unique and involved grandparents enrich a child’s life and fulfill many roles. Some children live in traditional families with two biological parents and their siblings, visiting their grandparents throughout the year. Other families have multiple generations living in one household. I myself lived in this type of environment after my grandfather died when I was a teenager and my mother brought my grandmother home to live with us from Jamaica. In other families, children live with and are raised by their grandparents.

Historian. Traditionally, grandparents connect the child with their past by relating stories of their lives and the lives of other older relatives. As children get older, grandparents may help them develop a family tree and can bring their ancestors to life. They can relate stories about the child’s parents when they were young.

grandparents with childrenRole Model. When grandparents have a solid relationship with their grandchildren, they can be another role model and offer guidance when a child encounters a problem and wants advice. They can also provide a sympathetic ear if the child is having some problems that may not be easily resolved. This type of support can provide a sense of security for the child.

Teacher. Grandparents can also be great teachers. Children learn in many ways including by observing others. In this way, grandparents’ actions can teach children work ethic, how to interact in social situations, and how to handle adversity. Grandparents may also have special skills or talents like art or music that they can pass down to their grandchildren. Other grandparents may be particularly good with math or engineering and can pass their passion to the younger generation.

fishing with grandson

Playmate. Many of today’s grandparents are in good physical health and make great playmates for their grandchildren. Without the stress and responsibilities of being the parent, grandparents are more able to devote the time and effort to just playing with children.

No matter what type of family, children generally have a special bond with their grandparents and both the child and grandparent benefit from this bond. Grandchildren can make grandparents feel young and optimistic about the future while grandparents can provide unconditional love and support to children.

To learn more, a Types of Families course is available with enrollment in the Advanced Childcare program.


About the Author: Denise Richardson. Denise earned a Master of Education in Leadership of Educational Organizations from American InterContinental University and Bachelor of Art in Elementary Education from Trinity International University of Florida. Denise is a Program Director of Children Services for a Learning Center in Florida as well as an Adjunct Faculty member with Amslee Institute. Denise is raising two teenage daughters with the help of her husband and shares her knowledge to help others grow in their careers.