Celebrating Grandparents and Generations
● By Digital Media Director
By: Kjersten Joachim, Dow Rummel Village
There is something magical about the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. It’s unlike any other relationship and it almost seems as if these two generations were designed to complement each other in many ways. What the older generation has, the younger lacks, and vice versa. If you haven’t been intentional about investing time and thought into this unique relationship, now is the time to start!
The grandparent-grandchild relationship is second in emotional importance only to the bond between parents and children according to Arthur Kornhaber, author of ‘The Grandparent Guide’ and founder and president of the Foundation for Grandparenting. And an intergenerational analysis conducted by the Legacy Project finds that children need at least four to six involved, concerned adults to interact with them on a regular basis to fully develop socially and emotionally.
As parents, we should encourage and support these types of long-term, mutually-supportive, caring intergenerational relationships. Since 1978, the United States has recognized the first Sunday after Labor Day as Grandparents Day. There are many ways to celebrate Grandparents Day, whether it be on the actual day (this year on September 9), or throughout the month of September, which is Intergenerational Awareness Month:
· Interview a grandparent. This is a way for both young and old to take part in the day. Parents and kids can do this together. Have someone record the interview and ask questions about their family history, favorite memory, significant historical events, their first date, etc. The sky is the limit!
· Learn what each other has to teach. Maybe Grandma is a talented pianist, or Grandpa enjoys fishing. Your children can create memories with their grandparents, and maybe even discover a new hobby of their own. On the flip side, maybe kids can teach their grandparents the latest technology or a new game they learned.
· Plan a meal together. Don’t take this for granted. If you live close, some of the best conversations can be had over a delicious meal.
· Schedule one-on-one time. It could be an annual trip for your children to stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, a sleepover, or even a monthly or weekly ‘date’. Just get it on the calendar!
· Make a photo book. Grandparents can NEVER have too many pictures of their grandkids.
· Send a card or letter. Who doesn’t love the excitement of getting letters in the mailbox the old fashioned way? Grandparents will find this refreshing in the midst of this technology-centered world their grandchildren are naturally accustomed to.
· Don’t forget about the ‘grand friends’. September is all about encouraging intergenerational relationships so don’t forget about the old family friends, great aunts and uncles, etc. If you don’t live close to or have a relationship with an actual grandparent, visit a local retirement community and ask about a mentorship or “adopt a grandparent” program.
Let’s celebrate grandparents, grand friends, and all generations this month to create memories that will last a lifetime!