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University of Illinois Extension

Grandparents Have Important Impact on Children

May 3, 2006

Grandparents can play an important role in influencing a child's lifelong values. They pass on gifts that cost little or no money, but that build character and create fond memories.

Cammy Seguin, University of Illinois Extension family life educator, says grandparents are in a unique position to provide children with four important things:

  • Unconditional love. Accepting children as they are helps them believe in themselves.
  • A good example. When grandparents model an upbeat attitude, they can provide a positive view of life and aging for grandchildren to imitate.
  • Experience and wisdom. Grandparents often have practical skills and wisdom to share. They can show children that change is common and that there are ways to resolve difficult situations.
  • Happy memories. Kind words, loving gestures, silly songs and sayings, and special times together can create memories for children that will always remain with them.

Do you have to live near your grandchildren to make a difference?

"Absolutely not," says Seguin. "Even if the grandchildren live far away, you can always write to them, send little gifts with stories or pictures attached, or call, e-mail or visit them.

And what if you are not a grandparent? You can still be a special person in a child's life, sharing your love and experiences. This kind of relationship gives children something they can count on through the ups and downs of life.

Source: Cammy Seguin, Extension Educator, Family Life, cmseguin@illinois.edu

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