Children who have a good relationship with their grandparents have less behavioural and emotional problems, new research shows - and it’s not just the kids who benefit

Grandparents are a vital part of raising emotionally healthy kids

Grandparent with happy child
(Image credit: Getty Images)

New research has highlighted the importance of children having a good relationship with their grandparents, showing that kids who do tend to have less behavioural and emotional problems. 

Many families understand the practical importance of having a good, strong bond with their children's grandparents. For one, they offer invaluable help with childcare. Especially ahead of the implementation of the 30 hours free childcare scheme and for those struggling to manage their time around the meagre 15 hours of free childcare most families currently get, sending the kids to grandma and granddad's is invaluable - though many grandparents say they're now too busy to look after their grandkids.

But grandparents are also important to help kids regulate their emotions and their behaviour. We already know that mothers are less likely to struggle with their mental health if their kids’ grandparents live close by, but new research is also showing that grandchildren and grandparents also benefit for this. 

According to a new study conducted by the University of Oxford's Department of Social Policy and Intervention, children who have a close relationship to their grandparents are less likely to struggle with their behaviour and will suffer with less emotional problems than those children who do not have the same privilege. 

This is because, according to the study, grandparents provide an extra level of support for their grandkids, allowing them to get things off their chest that they don't feel comfortable, or able, to talk about with their parents. It's encouraging then that a separate study found that kids are increasingly turning to their grandparents for life advice. 

But it's not just the grandkids who are benefiting from these close relationships. No matter what name a grandchild chooses to call their grandparents, and there are so many more unique choices of name than Nan or Grandad, a close bond helps grandparents too.

While a close grandparent-grandchild bond may have many parents feeling a little left out and wondering if grandparents really love their grandkids more than their own children, the benefits of such a strong connection are huge. Not only do grandparents say they learn more from their grandkids than their own children, bringing a new level of excitement and learning to their lives in their later years, but research has even shown that grandparents are likely to live for longer if their children have kids later in life

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.