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This Sunday is Grandparents Day in the UK and we can definitely feel the excitement. Grandparents come in all shapes and sizes (step-grandparents, paternal grandparents and even grandparents who provide kinship care), but they all have one thing in common - the joy they experience from knowing and being able to support their grandchild.
Becoming a grandparent changes your world in so many ways, so we think it's only fair that the world gives a little back one day each year. So what is Grandparents Day and when do you celebrate? Here's what you need to know.
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Grandparents Day is a day dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating the important contribution made by grandparents to the well-being and education of children within their family. It is an opportunity for family to show their gratitude and respect for the older generation.
But is the day really as special as it seems and is it necessary?
Gransnet editor Lara Crisp says, "While Grandparents Day is a lovely idea, our users don't necessarily need a special day in order to know that their grandchildren love them. But they certainly wouldn't pass up an excuse for a visit and a cuddle either way."
In the UK, Grandparents Day 2018 is on Sunday 7th October. However, Grandparents Day is also celebrated all over the world and although some coincide, each country has their own day of acknowledgement. For example, the US celebrates on 9th September, where there are often dedicated Grandparents Day events in schools and cities.
Grandparents Day can help to make children more aware of the many ways in which their grandparents often influence their emotional development and education. Grandparents Day is a good time for grandchildren (and their parents) to reflect on the guidance they receive from older generations and to show appreciation.
With our recent childcare survey showing that over half (56%) of grandparents look after their grandchildren once a week or more, with 7% looking after them five days a week, it is clear that childcare is one way in which grandparents make a very large contribution.
In addition to providing (mostly) unpaid childcare, grandparents often also contribute financially to their grandchildren’s well-being. With a third (29%) paying for school uniforms and clothing, nearly a quarter (23%) giving their grandchildren pocket money and a fifth contributing towards holidays (21%), the financial support of grandparents should not be underestimated either.
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We think you'd agree when we say that most grandparents won't really mind what they do with their grandchildren as long as they spend some time together. Gifts, surprises and special occasions are lovely, but it's the thought that counts on this day and all we really want is to know that we're appreciated. If you're a new or soon-to-be grandparent, why not spend this day thinking about whether you want to be called 'Grandma' or 'Nana' or even 'GaGa'? There are hundreds of grandparent names to choose from - you might just be surprised.
Grandparents Day is the perfect day to share hobbies and interests. Perhaps you could ask your grandchild to share their favourite activity with you, or show them the things you enjoy? Whatever you are able to do, whether it's baking up a storm in the kitchen or getting your fingers green in the garden, today is about enjoying each other's company.
Being a long-distance grandparent is hard work and often quite a tough situation to be in. While you wish the world for your adult children and grandchildren, who might be as much as 5000 miles away, distance can be tricky. However you make it work, Grandparents Day is a good reason to do something out of the ordinary. Why not try having a meal together over Skype? Or FaceTime karaoke? It might just be the best idea yet.
Are you celebrating Grandparents Day? Let us know on our forums.