** This article has been revised from its original version which was published on February…
My one-year-old daughter, Ruby, adores my mother-in-law (her Zsa-Zsa). She runs around yelling her name with excitement when she sees her, and cuddles up with her when she’s having a tough moment. Since my mother-in-law cares for Ruby two days a week while my wife and I work, they get to spend a lot of time together. They go on adventures together, have dance parties, read books, bake all kinds of goodies, and both share an innate love of animals.
Ruby is crazy about all her grandparents, but there is something truly special about her relationship with her Zsa-Zsa. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship in many ways. My mother-in-law teaches Ruby dance moves, and phrases in French and Italian, while Ruby keeps her Zsa-Zsa up-to-date on the latest cast of characters and plot points on Mickey Mouse Club House. The care my mother-in-law lovingly gives our daughter is a huge blessing to our family in many ways, but recent research shows that it may provide health benefits to her as well.
New research from the University of Melbourne recently revealed that women who take care of their grandchildren are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The research indicates that the reason is because the mental activity derived from looking after young children can actually increase brain function.
According to the research, women who looked after their grandchildren one day a week had better memory for words and increased brain function than women who did not. Alternatively, the research shows that looking after grand-kids five days a week can actually have a negative impact on grandparents’ mental health due to over-stimulation.
As many young parents on Long Island already know, it is extremely difficult and almost impossible to work and raise children without help from family. My wife and I feel very blessed to have such amazing childcare for our girls. And thanks to this new research, it’s nice to know there’s potentially yet another positive by-product of this help.
By Eric J. Einhart – Guest Blogger