A vital connection to the past, grandparents nurture a sense of history, heritage, and identity. They pass on important family traditions and life stories that grandchildren delight in when young and cherish in adulthood.
In turn, grandparents reap many benefits from a close relationship with their grandchildren. The desire to be present as a child grows encourages many grandparents to remain active, to stay on top of trends and issues important to youth, and to protect their own health.
The bond between child and grandparent is heartwarming and universal. Grandparents Day is a day for celebrating that special relationship between the generations.
The Purpose of Grandparents Day
In Canada, Grandparents Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in September. The special day was first proclaimed in the United States by then-president Jimmy Carter, who readily acknowledged the founding work of Marian McQuade.
National Grandparents’ Day was officially recognized in Canada in 1995, after it being submitted in the house of commons by Mr. Sarkis Assadourian.
According to the Legacy Project, there are three purposes for National Grandparents Day:
- To honor grandparents.
- Give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children.
- Help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.
Grandparents Day Activities
Grandparents are a very special part of our lives. If you have been fortunate enough to enjoy time with your own grandparents, you know that the memories you share with them are priceless. Here are a few ideas to help you both enjoy the day and make more memories!
1. Send a Homemade Card
A card is a loving gift for grandparents both near and far, especially if it’s handcrafted. Gather some art supplies, such as paint, colorful paper scraps and stencils, and see what children create. Envelopes can be decorated too.
2. Make a Photograph Craft
Grandparents love photographs of their favorite kids, so incorporate pictures into a project. Try making a place mat by laminating a photo collage. Or, add magnetic tape to the back of a photograph for a special refrigerator decoration. Better yet – have your kids draw a picture of themselves adventuring with their grandparents. Snap a photo and print it on matching T-shirts.
3. Share A Hobby
Grandparents Day is the perfect occasion for sharing interests and hobbies with your loved one. If your grandpa likes woodworking, make something with him. Or, if your grandma loves painting, go outside in the fresh air for some impromptu art lessons. These shared teachings make family histories so rich.
If your grandparents wants to share the secrets behind the greenest thumbs on the block – embrace it. You or your children may discover a new interest, continuing a tradition in the footsteps of a grandparent!
4. Sit Down for a Meal
Few things are more precious to grandparents simply spending time with their grandchildren. Organize a family lunch, dinner, BBQ featuring their favorite food. Whether elaborate or a simple sandwich on a park bench, grandparents will cherish your time together.
5. Plan a Themed Day
From a day at the beach to an ice-cream social, themed parties infuse some fun into your day. At Victoria Landing Retirement Residence in Brandon, MB, grandparents are being treated to carnival games and lunch!
6. Interview Your Grandparents
Grandchildren can interview their grandparents about their childhood and record their findings. Kids will be fascinated to find out what life was like when grandma and grandpa were growing up. Think of the most outlandish trivia to share – perhaps there was no refrigerator or cell phones.
7. Record the Family’s History
Grandparents offer such wisdom and experience, so take advantage of their memories and learn about your family history. It’s also a great opportunity to reminisce – you never know what you might learn about yourself or your parents!
8. Start a tradition
Ask grandparent and grandchild to trace around their hands together. Or make and colour a butterfly or a flower every year as a present to grandma or grandpa. These make wonderful keepsakes to bring out on Grandparents Day to hang on a small tree or garland.
9. Perform a Song
A performance dedicated to your grandparents will be a special memory. Organize cousins to sing a song for grandma and grandpa. If grandparents live far away, why not send an audio or video recording of the children singing?
10. Bake a Treat
Adult relatives can help kids bake muffins or cookies for their grandparents. The No. 1 thing grandparents want from their grandchildren is time, so another fun idea is to hold a baking day, where several generations work together in the kitchen.
11. Offer Thoughtful Services
Grandparents do many things for their grandchildren! Let kids use their skills and talents to reciprocate by making a little coupon booklet of things the grandchildren can do for the grandparents. Children can offer to pose for a picture, do yard work or wash the car.
12. Reach out Virtually
Grandmas and grandpas love to hear about successes and milestones. From a first word, first tooth, or twentieth gold star at school, you can rely on grandparents to take an interest. A simple Facetime or Skype call is a great way to catch up and let them know they’re appreciated. It’s also a wonderful time to share the joy of their favorite book, activity, or meal. No matter what you do, your effort to connect will bring a smile to their face. For grandparents who are far away, it helps them feel closer too.
Senior Living Celebrates Families
The best retirement communities offer many opportunities for intergenerational activities. At All Seniors Care, we believe that being involved with youth is crucial for maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. Therefore, we welcome and encourages family interaction—not just on Grandparents Day, but all year long.
Many of our senior living communities organize activities around Grandparents Day, inviting family members for celebrations featuring entertainment, activities, refreshments, music and more. With more relaxed restrictions, we encourage family members to take advantage of these fun community activities and use them as opportunities to connect with your loved one. We welcome family visitors, including children, and encourage interaction between our residents and their grandkids. Please check with local visitor guidelines prior to coming to the residence.
You can also use these opportunities to encourage your loved one to connect with friends and neighbors in their community. Living in a community of friends and neighbors is one of the greatest benefits of living in an Age-in-Place community and forming relationships is a wonderful way to thrive.
If you’re thinking of choosing a retirement community, we would like to tell you all about All Seniors Care Living Centres and invite you to see first-hand any of our family-friendly Ottawa senior living homes or our Manitoba senior communities. Please contact us to schedule a visit or to learn more about our caring senior living homes.
Writer: Julianna McLeod