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The rewards grandparents reap from spending time with their grandkids

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MILWAUKEE -- Turns out grandma and grandpa watching the kids not only benefits mom and dad. Child development expert Jessica Lahner with Carroll University joins Real Milwaukee to talk about the rewards grandparents reap from spending time with their grandkids.

Social interaction

  • We've known for a while now that continued social interaction improves our quality of life as we age
  • Many studies suggest that the quality and meaning of the interaction is what`s most important
  • Grandparents` relationships with their grandchildren are often some of their most treasured relationships
  • Grandparents value this role; becomes important part of their identity
  • Believe the role is important and meaningful - it makes a difference in the lives of their grandchildren and their adult children (as a helper)
  • Value being able to pass on family history and values to a new generation
  • Enjoy indulging their grandchildren —having fun without major child-rearing responsibilities


While it`s tempting to sign your parents up for full-time childcare duties, there's a catch. The study suggested that more child care isn`t better.

  • Grandmothers that cared for their grandchildren 5+ days performed significantly worse on the cognitive tests suggesting a negative impact of full-time care responsibilities.
  • Increased stress, responsibility likely negates the positives
  • Consistent with other research that suggests custodial grandparents are twice as likely to suffer from depressive symptoms among other negative outcomes than non-custodial grandparents