Grandparents can work miracles. They can also push boundaries. It’s a delicate balancing act that no one gets exactly right. That includes Mom and Dad — whose expectations of grandparents can vary greatly. Sometimes, within the same hour. Thus, “grandma” and “grandpa” often must figure out how to keep everyone happy. Not an easy task.
For example, special treats can make a grandkid’s day, but can also draw accusations of “spoiling.” Too much discipline from a grandparent might spark charges of being “out of touch.”
Take some time on this National Grandparents Day to show how much they mean to your family. Definitive rules don’t really exist for this job description, so each grandparent must find his or her way. They’re dealing with grandkids of course, but also a set of parents (obviously) and (quite possibly) in-laws. Toymaker Fisher-Price recently published a guide to grandparenting. Atop the list? Making sure “help from you is helpful.” That one piece of advice might just solve a lot of issues — not to mention tantrums.
Just like becoming parents for the first time, we can only learn from experience. Join us as we explore the rewarding (and emotional) relationship between grandparents, parents, and children.
And remember the stardust.
Grandparents Day timeline
The eventual founder of National Grandparents Day accompanies her grandmother as she distributes food and checks on elderly neighbors near the family farm in West Virginia. This fostered a lifelong interest in seniors — and most notably, grandparents.
McQuade helps to launches a special tribute to West Virginia's octogenarians which starts her on the road to activism on behalf of seniors.
President Carter signs a bill proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as Grandparents Day — the result of Marian McQuade’s tireless work on behalf of America's senior citizens.
'Active grandparents live longer'
Swiss, German and Australian researchers found half of grandparents who participated at least occasionally in their grandchildren’s lives were more likely to be alive five years later than those who had no involvement. Another showed that grandmothers who watched their grandchildren one day per week had higher cognitive scores than those who never did.
Harry Potter and the Amazing Grandparents
Canadian grandparents Dave and Ruby Dunlop build an incredible two-story Potter-esque house for their two-year-old granddaughter. The structure features Hogwarts Castle, Ollivander's wand shop, Platform 9¾, and part of the Dursleys' Privet Drive.
How to celebrate Grandparents Day
Interview one of your grandparents
We love our grandparents for how they contribute to our lives in the present. But have you ever taken the time to learn about their past? Ask a grandparent to tell a few stories from years gone by. You’ll learn something new and participate in one of the most valuable experiences our grandparents can give us — wisdom passed down through the ages. Plus, it will help you understand where they’re coming from. Some of their entrenched views will be explained by learning about the environment in which they grew up.
Cook for your grandparents
Some of the tastiest cookies in the world came from Grandma’s kitchen. Return the favor by cooking up a special meal or baking some goodies for your grandparents. You’ll have to accept the fact that whatever you make will never be as good as the food your grandparents make for you. However, if you can get past that, it’s smooth sailing! Bonus points if you use one of Grandma’s old recipes; you’ll definitely get a pinch on the cheek for that.
Visit the elderly in a nursing home
National Grandparents Day isn’t just about celebrating grandparents — it’s also about supporting and appreciating the elderly who live in nursing homes. Bake a batch of cookies and take them to your local nursing home. Spend some time chatting with the residents and munching on cookies together. We guarantee they’ll remember the gesture for weeks and months to come. Plus, you might even make a new friend and develop a meaningful interpersonal relationship. You’ll be doing the elderly good, but you might be doing even more good for yourself.
5 Reasons Why Grandparents Day Is Cooler Than You Think
No "gramps" please
Although "grandma” and “grandpa” are still the most common names of endearment, one in 20 grandparents prefers a "first-name only" situation.
Many grandparents today are more accepting of grandchildren that are biracial or those who come from same-gender households.
Grandparents shell out major bucks on their grandchildren each year — over $179 billion a year, (that’s roughly $2,562 per grandparent,) according to AARP.
It's (almost) inevitable
The AARP reports that 96% of Americans are grandparents by age 65.
Comedian Steve Martin included this three-minute gem on his iconic 1977 album "Let's Get Small." The album would win a Grammy for "Best Comedy Album" the following year.
Why We Love Grandparents Day
They spoil us
Because they’re not generally our primary caregivers, grandparents often spoil the heck out of us as a way of showing their love. When mom’s away, grandma and grandpa shower us with cookies, toys, clothes, and unlimited access to the TV remote. Even though we love our real parents, sometimes we wish that they would treat us like our grandparents do. Our grandparents are all sugar and spice, and everything nice!
They tell the best stories
Grandparents have the most fascinating stories to tell about the old days. They have fought in wars, exchanged love letters across oceans, traveled the world, lived through famines, and survived to tell the tale. They’ve also survived to tell embarrassing tales about how our parents were in their childhoods. Mom might never want you to know how bad her sense of style was in the eighties, but Grandma will tell you—and she’ll have pictures! It’s parent embarrassment galore! We’ve never loved our grandparents more.
They have the answers to everything
No matter what problem we bring to the table, grandparents have likely either experienced something similar themselves or can dish out the best advice. And the best part is that they won’t judge you. They love you unconditionally (we think that’s pretty much a grandparent rule or something), so they’ll give you impartial tips without getting mad or disappointed in you. Sometimes they won’t even tell your parents when you’ve done something wrong and need that advice to get out of a jam! Thank goodness for our grandparents.