When I became a new mother, I thought one of the greatest joys was holding my newborns and watching them coo and cuddle all swaddled up and gently nestled beside me.
I soon discovered that would pale in comparison to the immeasurable happiness I experienced while watching my parents do the same as they sweetly sang to their granddaughters while holding them in their loving arms. As the years continue to pass, and the girls continue to grow, I still find no adequate words to describe the boundless joy and immense gratitude I feel when watching my children and my parents together.
I’m excited that we get another opportunity to “Do something Grand” for Mimi and Papa to celebrate Grandparents Day on Sunday, Sept. 10. I know it’s a little known holiday for some, but it’s a great time to honor our grandparents and elders and show them our appreciation. It also gives us a chance to tap into the wisdom and heritage that older relatives provide. Our grandparents and older relatives are especially a rich resource for our children – no matter if they live around town or across the country.
This September, you may want to gently remind your kids to recognize the value of their grandparents’ strength, resilience and guidance. Let them return that message of love. For children whose grandparents have passed away, they can be encouraged to offer kindness to elderly people, especially those in nursing homes or to others who may be living alone.
Here are few great tips on how you can celebrate Grandparents’ Day all month long:
Cook Together. A surprising 67% of grandparents see their grandchildren most often when their family goes out to eat. If that’s the case with your family, why not bring a meal closer to home? After all, nothing brings people together like home-cooked comfort food. Encourage your kids and your parents or in-laws to pick out favorite recipes and get to work in the kitchen making a meal together. While beating eggs and boiling water, they can also cook up a closer relationship.
Your Time is the Best Gift You Can Give Your Grandparent. It’s the start of the school year. Your kids’ schedule is going to get busy with homework, after-school activities, and hanging out with their friends. Why not take at least a half hour on or around Grandparents’ Day to encourage them to get to know one of their grandparents or another older adult in your family better?
If you want to get a little more creative, you might try a few of these ideas for Grandparents’ Day:
- Invite grandparents over to play a favorite board game from their youth.
- Take grandparents to visit the houses where they grew up, or some other memorable spots.
- Upload a playlist of songs from their youth, adding a few of your children’s favorite songs as well.
- Host an impromptu mini family reunion, inviting a few local relatives or dozens of distant relations.
- Create a book or poster titled, “Why We Love Grandpa.” Have the kids list their many reasons, and add colorful illustrations.
- Create a family tree together. Be sure to bring out the grandparents’ photographs, so that the kids can put a face with a name. It’s also a great time to jot names, dates and notes on the backs of the pictures.
- Ask the grandparent for a lesson on their favorite hobby. Your family can spend the day learning to knit with grandma, or fish with grandpa.
- Give the grandparent a homemade “coupon book” from the entire family. The coupons may include help with chores, places you’ll take them to visit, or activities you’ll plan to do together.
- Watch the grandparents’ favorite movie together as a family.
- Have your children write a story, featuring the grandparent as the main character, complete with illustrations.
- Create a set of placemats using old and new photos of the grandparent, along with their children and grandchildren.
Whatever you decide to do, I’m sure it will be a big hit with your parents, in-laws or older relatives. It’s just nice to show a little unexpected appreciation for those we love. And what better way to celebrate Grandparents’ Day all month long, than by “Doing Something Grand” that will put warm smiles on the faces of both the older and the younger people in your life at the very same time.