Are Grandmothers more connected to their grandkids or children?

Recently updated on July 26th, 2022 at 11:18 am

We always knew that the special bond between grandmothers and grandkids was unique, but now science has proved it. Yes, it’s true. A study that examined grandmothers’ brain function has shown that grannies may be more emotionally connected to their grandkids than their own children.

And can you blame them? The joy of children without the responsibility of raising them. Sign us up! Grandmothers love spoiling their grandkids and it’s a bond of pure love.

What’s the science behind it all?

Scientists from Emory University showed a group of 50 grandmothers pictures of their children and their grandchildren. The emotional empathy centre of their brains lit up when seeing their grandkids, and less so when seeing photos of their own children as adults. 

The researchers used MRI technology to measure the brain function while the women flicked through pictures of their grandkids, their adult children and unknown children and adults. Each grandma had at least one biological grandchild between the ages of three and 12.

The neural study was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B and lead author James Rilling said the “cute factor” of kids likely helped with the results.

Since the emotional empathy centre was activated, it suggests that grandmothers feel joy when their grandkids do, and they feel pain or distress when they do. Now that’s a special bond indeed.

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Do grandkids help grandma live longer?

Of course, this isn’t the first study to look at the special bond between grandmothers and grandkids. Since the 1960s researchers have been looking at the reasons why women live decades past their reproductive years, and one of those reasons is it increases the survival chances of their grandchildren. 

Even better, a child’s wellbeing and performance at school is often boosted by engaged grandparents. It takes a village to raise a child, right? Extra hands, love and care is always welcome.

RELATED BLOG: Celebrate the rise of skip-gen travel with these 6 adventures

Time together is the best way to bond

It’s been a funny two years living with the pandemic with many families split across cities, states or even countries making it difficult to maintain a close relationship. But there’s no better way to strengthen that bond between grandmothers, their children and grandkids than with time spent together.

Call us biased, but we expect family travel to skyrocket in 2022 as multi-generational families reunite and make up for lost memories. Travel is one of the most rewarding and positive experiences a family can have together. It gives you new moments to recount long after you return home and means plenty of quality time spent together without the stressors of daily life.

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Do you think grandmothers and grandkids have a special bond? Are you planning a family vacation in 2022 or 2023? Tell us in the comments below…

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