By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
There’s no doubting the fact that grandchildren are a source of immense joy for their grandparents, who look forward to every interaction with them. Also, we can’t deny that grandparents offer immense support and make various contributions to their grandchildren’s lives, both emotionally and financially. These are all the more reasons to honor National Grandparents Day. It’s about celebrating the love, care, and bond that binds three generations of families together. It is also a great reminder for you to take time out of your busy schedule to appreciate your grandparents and make memories that you will cherish forever.
The idea for Grandparents Day came about in 1956 when a housewife in West Virginia, by the name of Marian McQuade, realized that many seniors in nursing homes were somewhat forgotten by their families. McQuade then initiated campaigns to motivate the youth to recognize the contributions made by senior citizens and to “Adopt a Grandparent” for a lifetime.
Relatedly, in 1969, nine-year-old Russell Capper wrote a letter to President Nixon requesting to dedicate a day in honor of all grandparents. The personal secretary to the President responded to that letter appreciating Capper’s suggestion but informing him that it could only happen when a congressional resolution authorized it. Meanwhile, McQuade’s efforts had reached the national level and he was soon recognized as the founder of National Grandparents Day nation-wide both by the U.S. Senate and then-President Jimmy Carter. Finally, on August 3rd, 1978, President Jimmy Carter declared National Grandparents Day as the first Sunday after Labor Day.
You probably didn’t know that the National Grandparents Day in the United States has its very own flower and song! The forget-me-nots are, quite fittingly, the official flowers of Grandparents Day. These pretty, little, blue flowers have been symbolizing remembrance and long-lasting love for centuries. Moreover, the official song for Grandparents Day, called “A Song for Grandpa and Grandma,” was penned by Johnny Prill. This sweet song is about a grandchild singing about his love for his grandparents and the things he enjoys doing with them.
How often do you stop to think about your grandparents or reach out to them? It is sure to make their day whenever you do. Grandparents and grandchildren share a very special relationship that deserves to be celebrated.
Grandparents often make big contributions to the upbringing and learning of their grandchildren. Whether they are cheering them on at a sporting event, babysitting them for free, or reading aloud stories, grandparents are a valuable resource that deserves appreciation and acknowledgment.
Grandparents also often provide financial support to their grandkids and are always there to celebrate their milestones—however small they may be. This day is a good time for you to sit with your kids and make them aware of the many ways grandparents have contributed to making their lives more special. Like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, Grandparents Day is a day to commemorate the hard work that goes into raising a family.
Additionally, fostering connection with grandparents benefits the development of healthy and positive emotions in children. It becomes easier for kids to learn empathy when they see the difficulties of old age, and this encourages them to be kinder to the elderly. It’s important for children to learn to respect the more aged and wiser generation that has much to offer society and communities. Therefore, encourage your children to tell their grandparents how much they mean to them in order to raise them to be more positive, socially-responsible adults.
Here are a few things you can enjoy with your grandparents to make their day.
It’s always worth organizing family reunions, and Grandparents Day is another excuse for some family time and shared meals. In case you are missing your favorite home-cooked food, now is the time to refer to those well-loved family recipes and enjoy them with your grandparents.
You know that grandparents always have a lot of stories to share and love to relive their experiences, sometimes even repeatedly. Listening to these stories will give a chance for children to learn about their own family history. It is a wonderful opportunity for children to bond with their grandparents, empathize with them, and develop a historical perspective. This is also a good time to pull out those old family pictures and share some memorable laughs.
Playing games with your grandparents is a fun activity and gives you a chance to learn about each others’ hobbies. Be it board games or cards or even a video game, grandparents can be your best playmates. Kids and grandparents have a lot to teach each other and you both can learn some fun new skills in the process.
Who would say no to a delicious sweet treat or a tasty snack? Head to the kitchen with your grandparents and cook or bake some goodies with them. Make their day special with some precious bonding time and a yummy reward at the end—double the fun!
Hone your art skills with your grandparents and come up with some ideas to utilize old material in the house and convert it into crafty things that everyone will love. Painting, coloring, or decorating are all good ideas. You can also make a keepsake gift to remember the special time you spent making it.
Also, here is a short three-minute video to help you make a customized Grandparents Day card for your grandparents.
Heading outdoors is another refreshing activity for Grandparents Day. You can explore the neighborhood together, head to a park, or take a walk by the beach. This is a healthy way for grandparents to teach children more about nature and their surroundings while everyone enjoys some fresh air! Packing a picnic is an amazing way to end the outing as well.
Grandparents Day is a reminder for you to make the effort to brighten up your grandparents’ lives, even if they live far from you. Technology has made it easy and convenient for you to stay connected with them. Grandparents just need to know that they matter to you, and communication is important—be it as simple as a phone call to remind them that you love them. So take this opportunity to honor them and their legacies by making memories to cherish for a lifetime.