The Grandparent's Day campaign began in West Virginia in 1970. It was spearheaded by Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade. Through the efforts of many individuals and organizations, it became a statewide effort. In 1973, West Virginia Governor, Arch Moore, proclaimed the first Grandparent's Day. The campaign then moved into the United States Senate. Five years later, the United States Congress passed, and President Jimmy Carter signed, legislation naming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparent's Day.
Grandparent's Day is a celebration of family. There are many things that families can do together in recognition of grandparents. Have a little party in honor of the grandparents. Play board games as a family. There are many games that can be played by people of all ages. Encourage the grandparents to tell stories about events in their lives. Tape record or write some of the stories down as they are told. These become wonderful memories to cherish. Perhaps one or both of the grandparents have a special talent or skill. Ask them to share this with the family. Better yet, ask them to teach the family! Looking through old photo albums is a delightful experience as well. The activity is not what is important, spending time together is.
Many schools celebrate Grandparent's Day and invite grandparents into the classrooms. Children make cards to give and plan activities for the grandparents to participate in. Grandparent’s Day celebrations tend to be quite enjoyable. Find out if your child’s school is having any special events and encourage the grandparents in your lives to participate.
Not all elderly folks are blessed with grandchildren or some may have grandchildren but they live far away. Whatever the circumstances, these elderly folks may find themselves feeling very much alone. Add visits to nursing homes or elderly neighbors to your list of Grandparent’s Day activities. Encourage children to write cards and then deliver them to the elderly. Consider paying these special people a visit on days other than Grandparent’s Day as well. Have a local youth group spend a few hours playing bingo with the residents of a nursing home. Take a children’s choir to an assisted living facility to perform a few songs. Spend some time just chatting with a resident. You may be surprised at how a little bit of your time can make someone’s day!
Grandparents are special people in all of our lives. They provide our families with support, guidance, and love. In some situations, grandparents are even taking over the role of parent. What we would do without these individuals in our lives? Take time to recognize and appreciate the grandparents and other elderly people in your life. Grandparent’s Day is the perfect opportunity to do this, but don’t let it be the only opportunity.