I am incredibly lucky to have a mother involved, interested and completely under the spell of my daughter. A grandparent-grandchild relationship, what does it bring?
Elders and Toddlers
In recent years, we have seen more and more pairing initiatives between seniors and toddlers. We can only observe the beneficial effects of these ties that are forged, whether through a CPE established in a CHSLD: this breaks the isolation of our elderly while offering children benevolent models of adults who can easily become meaningful to them!
Boris Cyrulnik, a French neuropsychiatrist known for his work on attachment and his popularization of the concept of resilience (that is, the ability to bounce back from adversity) is clear to this subject. A secure attachment relationship nourishes the child emotionally. What he calls resilience tutors (Elders, here) can change the course of life for young people who have been less fortunate since birth. Isn't it wonderful?
A meaningful attachment figure
You, what relationship did you have (or do you still have) with your grand-parents? For my part, I did not have the chance to know my grandfathers, both of whom died before I was born and I was never close to either of my grandmothers, unfortunately.
But when I watch my nearly two-year-old daughter literally light up when she sees her grandmother, my heart melts. Same thing when she asks me to call “granny” on a video call or when she kisses my phone screen – thought she was giving her dear granny a kiss.
Grandparents are part of the extended family that can provide support – both functional and emotional – to new parents, whether it's respite, cooking good comfort food, rubbing our back when we cry hot tears believing (wrongly!) that we won't make it… They are precious for us, the parents, but obviously for our children too.
These are loving and caring adults who reflect positively on themselves – which builds their self-image and self-esteem. It fulfills a basic human need: love and belonging.
As children get older, they retain precious memories of their early childhood while continuing to deepen their relationship with their grandparents through shared activities (cinema, nature walk, swimming, concoction of chocolate cookies, Lark). And the grandparents transmit a little of their knowledge through these moments together. They also feelknowledgeable, experienced in parenting, right, helpful (they are in many other ways, of course) and loved.
A relationship that keeps going
Like any type of relationship, that of a grandparent with his grandchild is nurtured. This does not mean that contact must be daily – which is practically impossible when there is an issue of geographical distance! But there is the possibility of nurturing the relationship thanks to new technologies via frequent video calls, for example. Why not send standard mail to each other by posting maps and drawings to each other?
And finally, parents, by talking about grandparents to your children in a kind way, by reminding them of events they experienced together, by telling them about your pleasant childhood memories with your parents or by telling them showing photos of grandparents at different times in their lives, you bring grandparents into the daily life of your little ones and that too is precious!