kids

"Hey Mum and Dad, it turns out babysitting your grandchildren is good for you. Really."

My little boy, Charlie, is lucky enough to have a healthy set of five grandparents.

That’s my modern day family – he has a Nonnie, a Pop, a Da, a Ma and a Gong.

In return for their time and attention, I’ve discovered he is giving them a longer life.

Charlie's Nonnie. Image supplied.

Grandparents who care for their grandchildren live up to five years longer than those who don't, according to new research.

That's win-win for me.  I hope my parents live long, healthy lives and I can also now say: "Hey Mum, Dad - babysitting is good for you."

A study by Edith Cowan University (ECU) found half of the grandparents who provided occasional care for their grandchildren or other members of the community lived for about five additional years.

Charlie loves his Pop, Da and Gong. Image supplied.
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“This research shows the positive link between care-giving and a longer lifespan in older people however we can only speculate as to why,” Dr David Coall from ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences said.

“Previous research points to helping behaviour as a stress buffer which involves, for example, the hormone oxytocin which can strengthen bonding between people.

“This link could be a mechanism deeply rooted in our evolutionary past when help with childcare was crucial for the survival of the human species,” he added.

Of course, there has always been some common sense in needing a village to raise a child.

However, researchers warned about overdosing on parental responsibilities.

“It is very important that every individual decides for themselves what ‘moderate amounts of help’ means,” Dr Coall said.

“As long as you do not feel stressed about the intensity of help you provide you may be doing something good for others as well as for yourself.”

Listen: Rachael Finch was shamed for leaving her daughter Violet with her grandparents. This was her response.

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