Silver in their hair. Gold in their hearts. Time on their hands.

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Grandparents are the most fun people to be with! Remember pulling the Santa Claus beard of your granddad? And when your grandma looked everywhere for her glasses, only to find them resting on her head? The thing about grandparents is that they may have started off as strict parents but when their kids beget kids, they turn into the most liberal grandparents. It’s almost like they want to make amends for all their past sternness.

Apart from loads of pampering and love, grandparents also provide great stability and support to babies. In fact a tiny tot’s relationship with his / her grandparents is one of the most important building blocks in his / her life. The problem is that these days most modern families have gone the way of North Korea: nuclear. Leaving little time for babies to meet their extended families, especially their grandparents.

But we sincerely believe that parents just have to, have to take the time and effort to ensure that their little ones spend more than just a little time with their grandparents. Here’s why:

1. Grandparents have been there, done that.

Dirty diapers? Potty training? Hollering infant? Teething troubles? No, we aren’t talking about your baby, we are talking about you. Your parents (and your husband’s mom and dad) have been through all the travails of parenthood. Nothing about your baby will faze them or make them go Ugh! Which makes them really wonderful caregivers. They will always be there for your baby. Like they have always been there for you. The bonus: Spending time with their grandkids is one of the great joys of their lives. So make your baby and your parents happy. Let them meet much, much more often.

2. Even little buds need strong roots.

Most experts say that babies start recognising faces in their second month. Close proximity to their grandparents helps infants identify them very easily. It will also let your baby instinctively know that your in-laws and parents are another set of loved ones that he or she can completely trust.

Grandparents also love showing off their little cutie pies. Which means regular strolls in parks and promenades are a given. This feel of the outdoors is a boon for your baby and a blessing for the oldies as well – it makes both healthier. What’s more whenever babies visit their dadi or nani, they usually get to meet their cousins and other extended family members as well. This instills a strong family bonding in your baby and helps in their emotional and mental development! Forget just cousins, even your parent’s neighbours will rush to their home (like bees to a honeypot) when your baby comes over. Pulled cheeks? Lipstick marks? Don’t worry! Your baby is being loved, thoroughly.

This kind of closeness has many benefits. Pediatrician Dr Varghese Koshy, M.D. in Pediatrics, a consultant pediatrician with Bishop and Benziger Hospital, Kollam, Kerala (with more than 25 years of experience) throws light on the role grandparents play in a child’s growth and development. He says, “Grandparents are a child’s comfort zone. The children can talk to their grandparents without any hesitation as they know they would not be shouted at. Plus, grandparents have wiser opinion on how to raise a child, after all they have been there, done that. Although he warns parents not to completely leave their children with the grandparents because it can spoil kids. After all children need someone to be stern.”

3. Smart mums know that careers and carers go hand in hand.

Maternity leaves have a nasty habit of coming to an end. Going back to work, though, can be hard on both mum and baby. If you decide to work after having a baby, the biggest worry will be where to put your baby when you head for office.

What can we say? Just remember ‘DADA’ is just ‘A DAD” spelt differently. And no nanny can match up to a NANI. The most trusted caregivers you will ever find to give your baby company are your in-laws or your parents. They will look after your baby just the way you do. Sometimes, even better. Best part? All they want in return is even more time with their little angel.

So do yourself, your baby, your parents and your in-laws a favour. Let grandparents have a grand ole time with their grandchildren.

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