How much time you spend with your grandchildren depends on so many different things. How old they are, whether they live nearby, your relationship with your children, whether you are still at work and whether your home and lifestyle can accommodate them. The extraordinary diversity of attitudes to how often one should see their grandchildren and how much of a role grandparents play in their grandkids’ lives is interesting to contemplate. It is also interesting to consider how it impacts where you might choose to live.
Do you think you may, at some time, have chosen where you live because it enables greater contact with your grandchildren? Or perhaps you have disregarded the idea of living in a village, or moving to a different town because you worry you might miss your grandkids growing up?
My father and stepmum see the grandkids every school holidays. It was a big call for them to move away to the coast, two hours from our home, when they retired, as they were worried about missing out. Several years ago, as they wound back from working full time, they put in place a family tradition that brings the grandkids closer, inviting them to stay every school holidays for several days at a time. All of their grandchildren are primary school aged, and for the four holiday periods each year they can have up to six kids descend on their house near the beach. The kids all bunk up together in a rumpus room on mattresses on the floor like giggling gerties. It can be quite chaotic, but I know everyone loves it.
Similarly, my friends have four children, and after being transferred to live in Perth several years ago, find themselves returning to Brisbane three or four times a year to see their parents. My friends and all four of their children, aged 7-15, go and stay at their parents’ retirement village homewhile they visit, and rave about the facilities on offer. In their village, no one limits the use of facilities to residents only. I have heard many a conversation about just how terrific the full sized pool tables are, restaurant and bar, and how much the kids adore the swimming facilities.
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An older family friend, on the other hand, moved several hours away a few years ago when her grandkids were very young. Joan was crucial for her daughter in law, who relied on her to babysit so she could work part time, without the prohibitive cost of daycare making it pointless. While Joan dreaded the change that would mean she could no longer babysit for short stints, she also looked forward to a period where she was not obligated to regular commitments and was relieved when she could be the reason for a special visit rather than part of the daily routine.
Opinions differ greatly on how grandparenting affects where you live.
The question I want to stop and ask today is whether you have found yourself tempted to downsize to a retirement village but struggled with the idea of missing out on your grandkids and more regular contact with your kids? Share how you have been thinking about it today.
This article has been sponsored by Lend Lease Retirement Living who have helped people all over Australia grapple with the downsizing challenge as they have moved into retirement villages. We’re proud to point out that grandchildren are always welcome at Lend Lease Retirement Villages. For more information on retirement living visit www.retirementbylendlease.com.au