We baby boomers are becoming grandparents at a very fast pace! There is no doubt that being a grandparent is a joy. I can only speak for myself when I say that I could just eat my grandson up with a spoon because he’s so sweet! A lot of my friends and relatives have become grandparents in the last few years. How much do we babysit the grandchildren? That seems to be the big question!
It runs the gamut. I know a couple of ladies who watch grandchildren five days a week. A close friend babysits two days a week, while some grandparents I know only babysit here and there with no permanent arrangement. I guess the most prevalent is the one day a week stint. I fall into that category as well as a few of my friends.
My friends and I are lucky that our children live near us and we get a chance to bond with the grandchildren. I would be very sad if they moved away. But, for grandparents, the decision to babysit all day for grandchildren can be a dicey one. One grandma I know tells me that she is glad that she lives far away from her grandchildren, for while she loves them, she does not want to be pressured into babysitting. Another tells me that she wants to be happy every time she sees her grandchildren, not tired and frustrated that she has to babysit all day again.
My daughter sent me a link to this article which proposes the idea that grandparents could lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s if they babysit for their grandchildren. Really? Ah! There is a little catch:
New research reveals that women who take care of their grandchildren one day a week are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. This is because the mental activity derived from looking after youngsters can actually increase brain function. Women who looked after their grandchildren one day a week had a better memory for words. (Keep in mind, however, that if grandparents look after grand-kids five days a week or more, it can actually have a negative impact on their mental health.) Since Irene started looking after her two granddaughters once a week, she no longer has pain in her bones or a vitamin D deficiency — this is from being outside more often, as well as being more mentally and physically active. Check out the video to hear more about this study!