Tuesday, December 13th, 2022
As the festive season approaches it is inevitable that we think of our family and those who are dear to us. Thoughts turn to grandparents, aunties, uncles and even great grandparents but do we give enough thought to those people throughout the year? We probably all appreciate that family is important but do we ever give a thought about why family is important?
In the fast-paced world we now find ourselves living in, which is filled with ever increasing amounts of pervasive but often nonetheless persuasive screen time and social media, many of us have become less social in the ways that are not only beneficial, but actually essential to our mental and physical well-being. We need regular in-person interactions with those we love to reap the full benefit of social connections, this is true for us all, whether we are 5, 45 or 95!
Studies (Cigna study from the American Journal of Health) have shown that having quality time with family and extended family can mean increased happiness, greater satisfaction, a reduction in stress and anxiety and even lead to a healthier lifestyle.
If you have young children then encouraging them to send time with grandparents, aunties and uncles and extended family members is important because of the all the love and support such interactions generate. These conversations can be significant to a child’s development as they help promote adaptability and resilience, such key lessons can really only be taught by family members coaching and encouraging everyone through the challenges we all face as part of everyday life. Family is what makes us who we are.
A report from the most recent census in the U.K. Census 2021, provided quantitative analysis on children's views on well-being. It said, ‘…Feeling loved and having positive, supportive relationships, particularly with family and friends, including having someone to talk to and rely on were consistently stated as a top priority for children to have a happy life...’
All families are different of course and whatever works for your family is fine but the memories created by grandparents (and extended family members) are usually something a child will cherish for a life time.
Grandparents (yes I am a grandma so may hold a slightly biased view) but grandparents offer not only love but time, patience, a listening ear and a friendly face that busy working parents can sometimes struggle to find.
They can also offer fun things to do such as:
Share a jigsaw puzzle
Draw a family tree and discuss its branches
Share a story
Play a board game together
Share of photos and talk about the stories behind them
Go on a walk
Watch a movie together
Memories are created every hour of every day! You may not realise it but by spending time with the youngest members of the family grandparents are helping develop social skills, cement moral and emotional behaviours as well reinforcing the family culture and values.
Contributed by Christine Havercroft
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