Study Finds That Grandparents Who Babysit Live Longer, So Plan A Date Night Stat

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Let's be honest: parenthood is exhausting. So whenever one of my twins' grandparents offer to take them out for the day so I can get a break, you can bet I am all over that opportunity. But according to 6 ABC News, new data from the Berlin Aging Study found that it's actually a total win-win situation: the study found that grandparents who babysit live longer than those who don't, which hopefully means I totally don't have to feel guilty the next time I drop my kids off at my mom's so that I can get in bed and watch Netflix all day (uh, I mean, "get caught up on household chores").

The study followed 500 seniors aged 70 and older, and found that those who babysat their grandkids tended to be more active, and that they reported lower stress levels. But older adults without grandchildren nearby to spend time with can still benefit: the researchers found that babysitting any child on occasion, whether or not you're actually related, was still a health-booster. And according to USA Today, babysitting could provide some invaluable cognitive benefits too: a study out of Australia earlier this summer found that spending a moderate amount of time caring for grandkids could actually help prevent Alzheimer's Disease by increasing brain function and memory.

Ad failed to load

Unfortunately though, there is one major caveat: according to Dr. Ronan Factora at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Geriatric Medicine, older individuals who are their grandchildren's primary caregiver may actually age faster, and could be at a higher risk of dying. Factora said,

You want to make sure that you find that right balance between getting the positive benefits of doing enough of an activity to help those in need, and avoiding doing too much and getting to the point where the activity makes one overly stressed.

That's a totally fair point, and as any parent will likely tell you, taking care of kids day in and day out is not easy, even when you're young and in good health. So where should you draw the line? According to USA Today, older individuals who spend "five days a week or more" caring for young children could actually have "a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders" — though it's also reasonable to assume that any amount of caregiving that feels stressful or overwhelming would also negate the positive effects.

Ad failed to load

For grandparents who enjoy spending time with their grandchildren every now and then, it definitely seems worthwhile to continue encouraging it. Not only can it give mom and dad what is often a much-needed break (date night, anyone?), the grandparent-grandchild relationship has also shown to do wonders for children's emotional development. Research out of the University of Oxford that looked at more than 1,500 children found, for example, that children with highly-involved grandparents had "fewer emotional and behavioural problems," than those without grandparent support, while a 2013 Boston College study found that, actually, the bond formed between grandchildren and grandparents offers long-term benefits for both parties — even into the child's adulthood.

According to Sociology Assistant Professor Sara Moorman, the study found that "an emotionally close grandparent-adult grandchild relationship was associated with fewer symptoms of depression for both generations," and that “the greater emotional support grandparents and adult grandchildren received from one another, the better their psychological health.”

Ad failed to load

As someone who grew up extremely close to her maternal grandparents, I've seen how invaluable that relationship can be, and I hope that my own children will get to develop such a bond with their grandparents, too. But even though it's easy to think of sending the kids to Grandma's as little more than a nice break from the non-stop madness of motherhood, the truth is that there are huge benefits involved for everyone when children get to spend quality time with their grandparents. And that's wonderful news all around.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}