The Role of Grandparents in The Modern Family

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Times have really changed the role of grandparents, in this day of the modern family. Today, families lead very active lives and work longer hours than in years past. It used to be perceived that the role of the grandparent was to spoil the child with treats and maybe complain about the new fangled parenting styles of their children.  That is no longer the case.  Grandparents fill many needed and integral roles in the busy lives of our families.

New Beginning

Closer relationship: Many new families come to realize that one of the wonderful benefits about starting a family is that it brings you closer together.  You now share the bond of being a parent.  Do be careful though.  Grandparents and parents may tend to have different parenting styles, which is ok.  Just remember to keep the lines of communications open by being honest and respectful of one another.

Role Model and Hero

Every child needs a hero.  And who better to fill that role than their very own grandparent?  This feeling of being a hero could be from something they have done throughout their lives such; as their profession as a nurse, teacher, fireman or police offer or it may be that they were literally considered a hero because they saved someone’s life or by being a real life war veteran.  Sometimes it can be as simple as just being able to be there for their grandchild when they need them.  Whatever the circumstance, this idea of them being a hero or a role model fulfills a big need within today’s family.


Typically as the elder of the family, a grandparent fulfills the role of historian of the entire family.  They know all the history, genealogy, general knowledge, family traditions and funny stories surrounding their family throughout the years.  And in many cases, as only grandparents can, deliver those fun, exciting and interesting facts and stories in a wonderful grand fashion; which children of all ages are often mesmerized by.

Great Friend

As a grandparent, many times they are not generally responsible for the day-to-day care or discipline of their grandchild.  This luxury allows them to engage in fun, family-friendly grandparent to grandchild activities.  Such as sharing fun excursions to the beach, movies or a visit to the ice cream shop.  Often grandparents have more spare time to allot to their grandchildren then parents due to retirement, working fewer hours and no children at home.  So take advantage of this great opportunity for your children to expand their relationships.


Grandparents are often seen in the role as an experienced teacher for their grandchild.  What a wonderful opportunity for the older generous to share their wealth of knowledge and expertise in all areas to a captive and loving audience.  Who doesn’t remember sharing a happy teaching moment with their grandparent…from learning to read, walk in high heels, throw a football or improving your overall relationship knowledge from modeling them.

On the flip side…


Nowadays many parents rely on the grandparents to help with childcare.  Families are working long hours and rely on them to lower childcare costs or serve as a back up to assist in drop offs or pickups from childcare, because parents are working late.  Many times grandparents are called upon for supervision for outside activities such as boy scouts, rides to organized sports and so forth.  This valuable support is becoming an integral piece of the functioning of today’s family.

 A Great Program for Grandparents to get involved with in their communities

Foster Grandparents programs: The Children’s Workshop works with this fabulous program at the Federal Hill House.  It engages seniors who are age sixty and older to serve as mentors, tutors and caregivers for children and youth with special needs, offering emotional support to abused and neglected children. There are currently eighty-nine seniors participating in the program, primarily throughout greater Providence. The Children’s Workshop has collaborated with the Foster Grandparents Program in order to host seniors at their schools in Providence and Central Falls. They are able to provide these services through The Children’s Workshop Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded to improve the lives of families in the communities served by The Children’s Workshop.



Listed below are a few websites on the role of grandparents in the family. (Taken form A Better Child, Grandparents role in the family


Grandparents play a vital role in child development

Grandparents often become a families first reserves in times of crisis. Grandparents act as fun playmates for children, role models, and family historians.



Talk To Your Baby has looked into the increasingly important role that grandparents play in British families, and the impact they have on family.


Grandparents play big role in families (10-20-2005)

When families come together for socializing or in daily life, grandparents can use those times to do what they do best.


A Grandparents' Guide for Family Nurturing & Safety

Grandparents make profound contributions to their families, so take your role seriously. Babysit on a regular or as-needed basis, if you can.


The Influence of Grandparents and Step grandparents on Grandchildren

being a step grandparent can be more challenging than being a grandparent because the role is less clear.


Heather is the Director of The Children's Workshop in Lincoln, RI.  She first started her journey with the TCW family in 2007 in our Smithfield location as a Kindergarten teacher.  She then entered the company's Management in Training Program, working in several of our locations while also training staff in various areas of early childhood education. She holds a BA from Providence College in Elementary and Special Education as well as a Master's Degree from Rhode Island College in Early Childhood Education.  Her true passion is not only working with children, but sharing knowledge with families and teachers in order to provide the best early learning experience for all young learners. She is also a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Rhode Island Childcare Director’s Association, as well as the Rhode Island College Early Childhood Advisory Board.