Grandparents set grandkids up with 'habits to last a lifetime', new research shows (and some are pretty important life lessons too)

Grandchildren learn a whole host of vital life lessons from their grandparents

Grandparent with their grandchild
(Image credit: Getty Images)

New research has revealed the vital roles grandparents play in their grandkids' lives, most importantly the way they inspire 'habits that last a lifetime' in them. 

So often when we speak about grandparents, we focus on the practical help they offer a family. With the rising average childcare costs in the UK forever at the forefront of parents' minds, it's no surprise that the help grandparents give to ease this burden is talked about so much as more than half of grandparents now look after their grandchildren while their parents are at work. But while news of the practical help they give is, well, practical, there are so many more roles that grandparents play within a family. 

New research by Legal & General surveyed 2,000 grandparents and 2,000 grandchildren to uncover and really understand the vital role a grandparent plays in the modern day and you may be surprised at just how much weight their input has when it comes bringing up a grandchild. 

The biggest area in which grandparents influence their grandkids' lives is in the hobbies a grandchild not only takes up, but carries with them well into adulthood. According to the grandchildren surveyed, their grandparents were the inspiration behind many of the hobbies and habits that have 'lasted a lifetime' for them. 

The research shows a huge surge in interest for craft hobbies among young people, with 32% of 18-24-year-olds saying they were introduced to sewing or knitting by their grandparents and continue to enjoy the hobby. Cooking and baking, gardening, puzzles, sports, collecting, and model building were among the top hobbies grandchildren continue to do to this day after being inspired by grandparents to take up the hobby. It's not just them learning from their grandparents though, as grandparents say they learn more from their grandkids than their own children including the modern day slang terms they should be using! 

It's not just their leisure time that's filled with lessons learned from grandparents though, as grandchildren say they have been taught a whole host of vital life lessons by the elder generation, whom they also tend to turn to for life advice over their parents

Manners and politeness, advice on friends or relationships, money-saving and financial advice, as well as tips on self-sufficiency are the lessons most frequently learnt from grandparents, with people of all ages, from 18-50, citing their grandparents as the ones who taught them the important life lessons. 

“The study evokes a reminder of the immeasurable impact that grandparents have on their grandchildren’s lives," Paula Llewellyn, Chief Marketing Officer, and Direct MD of Legal & General Retail, said of the research. "From imparting invaluable life lessons to providing emotional support, grandparents serve as beacons of wisdom and guidance for younger generations. In an age where the cost of living continues to bite, the study highlights how grandparents help ease the financial burden on their families while passing down important life skills."

Still, while grandparents are clearly incredibly influential in the lives of their grandkids, the research did show a reluctance from many to 'interfere' too much with parenting, though many grandparents have unapologetically shared their thoughts on today’s most popular parenting trends. 64% of grandparents said they avoid decision-making as they do not wish to undermine the parents but 74% still said they feel valued when they’re asked for advice on their grandchildren’s upbringing. 

But while they don't want to interfere with parents' parenting style, they're still ready and willing to step up and help out when they can. Almost half of grandparents said they spend time with their grandchildren to reduce the cost of childcare, while 17% provide childcare duties every week and 13% do the school run every day. 

Grandparents are an important family pillar for many, so important in fact it has been found that mothers are less likely to struggle with their mental health if their kids’ grandparents live close by. Sometimes, though, parents are forced to wonder if grandparents really love their grandkids more than their own children as they call their grandparents sweet grandparent nicknames and get showered with gifts - though one set of grandparents is more likely to spoil their grandchildren than the other.

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.