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This Sunday is Grandparents Day in the US and we can feel the excitement all the way across the pond. Grandparents come in all shapes and sizes, as 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.
But 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 every year. Whether you're new to the grandparenting world or you know the drill, Grandparents Day is all about you and your favourite <joking, of course> grandchild.
Grandparents Day is a day dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating the important contribution made by grandparents to the wellbeing and education of children within their family. It is an opportunity for family to show their gratitude and respect for the older generation.
Grandparents Day is celebrated all over the world and though some coincide, each country have their own special day of acknowledgement. In the UK, Grandparents Day 2017 is on Sunday 1 October. In the US, Grandparents Day is on Sunday 10 September. While the day is becoming more and more popular in the UK, Grandparents Day is perhaps more widely celebrated in the US where there are often special Grandparents Day events in schools and towns - there's even an official Grandparents Day flower, the forget-me-not.
It is important to help make children aware of the many ways in which grandparents often influence the emotional development and education of their grandchildren. 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 recent research showing that two fifths (45%) of grandparents look after their grandchildren once a week or more, with 4% looking after them every day, 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 wellbeing. 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.
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 indeed 'Gaga'? There are hundreds of grandparent names to choose from - you might like something unexpected...
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 that be baking up a storm in the kitchen, getting your fingers green in the garden or even playing on the iPad - today is about enjoying each other's company and having a nice day.
Being a long-distance grandparent is hard work and often, quite a tough situation to be in. While you wish the world for your children and grandchildren, be that from down the road or 5000 miles away, most of us would prefer the former. Some consider moving closer to their grandchildren and others commit to travelling more often. However you make it work, Grandparents Day is a good reason to do something out of the ordinary. Why not try suggesting having a skype meal together? Or FaceTime karaoke?
Are you celebrating Grandparents Day? Let us know on the forums.
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