- To honor grandparents
- Give grandparents the opportunity to show love for their children's children
- Help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance that older people can offer.
She also wanted to encourage people, particularly children, to visit elderly shut-ins and in nursing homes. She wanted them to “adopt a grandparent”, to not just sing carols at Christmas, but to establish a relationship between the children and the elderly. The children would benefit from the wisdom of the adopted grandparent and the adopted grandparent would feel less lonely.
The bill proposing Grandparents Day was introduced to the Senate by by Senator Jennings Randolf (D-WV) in 1973. It was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in August of 1978. It was placed on the first Sunday after Labor Day.
Since then it has grown as a holiday. It is not just celebrated by families. Youth organizations such as the Girl Scouts and church groups participate in services to the elderly on this day, using it to start year-long service projects for seniors.
Teachers also use this as a service learning opportunity for their students, though obviously not on Grandparents Day because the children would not be in school on Sunday.
Some activities you might try
- Create a family book of wisdom. Purchase any type of book you can write in, one with lines preferably, and have family members write down things they have learned from the grandparents. Parents can do this to. Keep it where everyone can look at it and contribute to it from time to time. Ask the grandparents to enter wisdom they would like to share.
- Grandparents Day cards. Each child should make his or her own card expressing something he likes or feels about the grandparent to whom the card is addressed. Include a photo of the child. Have each child make one for each grandparent and do include step grandparents. They have feelings, too. The card can be scanned and sent email if the parent is long distance, but it is best to have the child give it in person.
- Create a wall-sized family tree. Designate a section of wall and buy paper large enough to cover it. You can tape pieces of paper together. Draw a trunk and put the faces and names of the child or children on the base of the trunk. At the top of the trunk, split it into two branches, one for each parent or more branches is this is a step-family. Ask grandparents to participate by bringing over old family photos of themselves, their siblings, their parents, grandparents, etc. Scan old photos into your computer and print. Draw branches with leaves and add the photos to leaves.
- Visit the home-bound elderly or those in nursing homes. You can usually call the local nursing home and find out who does not receive visitors. Even if your children have grandparents, adopt an elderly person and make a true commitment to visit and listen.
- Have a storytelling evening. You might be tired of listening to your parents' old stories, but they are new to your children. One of the things grandparents want most is to share their family stories.Have all the grandparents over for story night and let them take turns. You can draw numbers out of a hat or something to establish order. Use the video in this article to teach your children the official National Grandparents Day song and have them perform it for their grandparents, even if it is by Skype or over the phone.
- Let the grandparents spend time with their grandchildren. They do not have to do anything special. Just being with their grandchildren makes the day special. You may have to do this on separate days so the children do not get too much attention and get a grandparent overdose.
- Above all, be respectful to the grandparents in the presence of the children. They will learn from you. If you treat the grandparents unkindly, the children will learn to do the same and if you are fortunate enough to become a grandparent, they may follow your example in the way they treat you.
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