My wonderful Mother recently took my son for the day. When I picked him up, he was very upset that he had to leave. Over the next few days, a series of stories about what they did in that one day together came out (played werewolf, had a pillow fight, played a concert on a keyboard, took care of the cats, checked out my Step-Dad's camera collection). The amount of stuff they did in that one day is almost staggering and I now understand why my son fell asleep right away that night.
I have always considered myself lucky that my Mom and Step-Dad live close by and are willing to take my son any time. The relationship they have together is incredibly special and I love hearing about their adventures. It turns out that all that one-on-one time may also help extend my parents' lives.
There is recent evidence to support that occasional care-giving by Grandparents targets the big three areas that need attention as we age: Physical activity, social connection and stress-reduction (most people surveyed found that caring for their grandchildren actually reduced their stress levels overall.)
But notice that I said "occasional care-giving" in that preceding paragraph. This is not the case of long-term care or when a Grandparent ends up being the child's main caregiver. The health benefits only come from occasional babysitting.
And while all that evidence is nice to know, I have a much more important reason for getting my son together with his Grandparents: He is supremely happy to spend time with them because he loves them so much.
I know that my parents and my son would all like more time together (without me). It's up to me to make sure that it happens.
How often do your parents get alone time with their grandchildren? Tell me in the comments.