Let’s face it, being a parent is a full time job in and of itself.
We often get so sidetracked raising our own families that from time to time we can not only forget about our own parents, but also how our parents’ parents are faring.
#GrandparentsDay is a national holiday that was created to break that cycle.
Established in 1978 in the United States by president Jimmy Carter, but also celebrated on various dates throughout the world, Grandparents Day is an annual celebration that aims to highlight the contributions of the older generation to society.
But rather than some holidays that focus on well-known people, it’s a day we show our respect and gratitude for the collective wisdom and experiences of all of those who have come before us.
When is Grandparents Day? National Grandparents Day takes place on September 8th - the first Sunday after Labor Day.
In honor of this day, we have come up with a list of 7 things you can practice throughout the year in order to better integrate a senior member of your family, or even a non-relative in your community into your life (See: Adopt a grandparent) .
Each of these points will help you better communicate, either directly or indirectly, the value and worth that senior citizens living in your community have and how their presence has impacted you.
Got any other suggestions? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
Whether good or bad, if there is one thing every older person can communicate, it’s all of the lessons they’ve learned in the school of life.
For every situation we find ourselves in, whether we’re trying to move forward personally or professionally, there is an elderly person who has been in our shoes at some point in the distant past.
So while everyone has to live their own life and must make their own choices, we can learn a lot by simply listening to our grandparents tell us about their experiences.
Because, at the end of day, their input is not just enlightening; In some cases it may even help us not make avoidable mistakes.
So when they offer to share their stories with you, listen. Better yet, ask for their advice when you need it.
The Odyssey has a great article on Why We Should Listen To Our Grandparents that gives some great tips on how you can open up to the intergenerational wealth of knowledge they have.
Also keep in mind how much your kids can learn from their grandparents, as well, that may not be reflected in the current world or their upbringing.
2. Rekindle Old Memories
As we age, one of the most important things for us to know is that we’ve not been forgotten.
This is why sharing all of the good memories you’ve had with your grandparents is such an important gesture.
What do you talk about?
The time you spent together - holidays, cooking, bad weather, going to a museum, shopping, the first time you went to an ice rink or hiking in the mountains together, etc etc.
With each story you let them know you’ve been actively experiencing all of the joy they’ve brought you and that their presence has not gone unnoticed.
If you need any ideas for how to make memories with your grandparents, check out Family Education’s 12 Fun Things To Do With Grandkids (Or Grandparents).
Visit MommyBites to learn more about how to make memories last with grandma and grandpa.
3. Catch Up
Whether they’re still working or retired, your grandparents want to be able to talk about themselves with someone they trust.
When you talk with them, avoid making everything about you...If there’s a point that you catch yourself trailing off about your own life, turn the tables: Enough about me. What have you been up to?
Allowing your grandparents to open up about their work, interesting hobbies they’ve picked up, their plans for the holidays, something as simple as what they cooked this week (or ate at a restaurant), or anything else that is on their mind will give them a sense of validation that there are people in their lives who care about them, and are genuinely interested in them.
Kid’s Health has a list of “content” ideas for keeping your communication with your grandparents fresh and interesting.
Also remember that there are a variety of ways to keep in touch, as well. If your ability to connect one-on-one is limited consider these 10 Ways To Connect with Long-Distance Grandparents from Healthy Women.
4. Take Them Somewhere
Image Source: RedTri
Provided your grandparents are mobile, taking them somewhere can be a good way to get their brains and bodies active.
Don’t underestimate the power of a new experience at any age.
According to the BBC, the brain has an “astonishing ability to learn and master many new skills, whatever your age.” (Read More → The Amazing Fertility of the Older Mind).
So while you may not be able to take your grandma or grandpa skydiving (though you might!), you can surely take them to an art museum, boat racing, to a comedy club, to a woodcarving workshop, or anywhere else that you would want to go to have fun or try your hand at something new.
This means that you can try something new beyond the crossword puzzles and sweater knitting that many associate with retired life.
Need more ideas for things you can do with your grandparents? Look no further than Apartment Therapy’s 40 Free & Fun Things To Do This Summer. These are generic fun things to do that adults of any age will enjoy!
5. Bring Your Kids To See Them
It goes without saying, no matter how much you have to do, you should always stop by to see your grandparents every once in a while.
And, of course, if you have a family you should bring them along as well.
It’s not surprising that raising kids near (or with frequent contact from) grandparents scientific benefits - besides free babysitting, and each generation will feel the positive effects of that relationship.
Focus on the Family has more great ideas about how to Involve Grandparents in Your Kids’ Lives.
6. Encourage Them to Pick Up A Hobby
Picking up a hobby is a great way to find new passions and learn new things. The Cut compiled this extensive list of 20 Satisfying Hobbies & How To Get Them.
But the list of actual hobbies out there is much longer than this. From wine brewing to barbequing to building furniture, the only limits are the things that hold your grandparents’ interest.
Note: Remember, there are no such thing as “old people” hobbies.
There are just hobbies.
Need more ideas for hobbies? Check out Discover A Hobby - an interactive database full of things your grandparents might learn to do either as a pastime or even to make money!
7. Encourage Them To Pursue Their Dreams
Lastly, always encourage your grandparents to pursue their goals and support them throughout the journey. Because dreams don’t have an expiration date.
Whether it’s a big or small endeavor, their time is as meaningful as anyone else’s and they have the potential to do as much as they set their minds to.
Well, there you have it!
Grandparents Day, wherever it is celebrated in the world is a day to honor grandparents, as well as the older population in general, for their contributions to society, their love for their children and a long life full of wisdom and wonder.
It’s a day we hope you carry with you through the other 364 days of the year; But one we hope serves as a reminder that we will not have the benefit of our grandmas and grandpas (or adopted grandmas and grandpas) forever.
Spending time with them is a privilege...Every chance we get.
We should also remember the importance of passing down their legacy to our children, as well.
Spending time with our grandparents, and allowing our own kids to spend time with theirs is a great way to teach them much more of life’s important lessons than we alone can teach them.
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