Grandparents play an important role in their grandchildren’s lives, but their efforts are often indirect and sometimes unnoticed.
This Sunday is Grandparents Day, an opportunity to celebrate grandparent relationships across different age groups, cultural backgrounds and locations.
The day is celebrated around Australia and in NSW it is being run by the Department of Communities and Justice.
Why celebrate Grandparents Day?
The aim of the day is to establish intergenerational learning and give opportunities to older people to be part of local communities; the day celebrates and recognises their contributions.
The Queensland Government said on its website that a child’s interactions with their grandparent are usually their first interactions with an older person.
“High quality relationships between grandparents and young people help to create and foster positive attitudes toward ageing and older people and combat ageism,” it said.
The University of Queensland believes grandparents have an important role to play in their grandchildren’s lives and this comes from working well with their own children.
“Grandparents play a unique and invaluable role in the lives of their grandchildren; they can also play a key role as part of a parenting team or support network for parents,” it said on its website.
“High quality relationships between grandparents and young people help to create and foster positive attitudes toward ageing and older people and combat ageism,” – QLD Government
Last year, there was a bit of controversy when some NSW schools renamed the day to “Grandfriends Day” in a move to be more inclusive.
Ian Barnett, founder of the National Grandparent Movement, told Today it was a strange thing to do and excludes “one of the most significant people” in a child’s life.
“To actually change the name to make it ‘grandfriends’ is quite an odd thing because the implication behind that is, of course, if grandparents are now grandfriends it means the next logical step is that parents become ‘friends’.”
How to celebrate Grandparents Day?
The University of Queensland has provided some helpful tips on how to best foster good grandparent-parent relationships.
“A positive parent-grandparent relationship requires effort, understanding, and effective communication.
“Grandparents play a vital role in grandchildren’s lives and their support can contribute greatly to their wellbeing.
“By building a positive parenting team… you can enhance the parent-grandparent relationship and create a loving and stable environment for your precious grandchildren to grow and thrive.”
The NSW Government has provided a list of different ways people can celebrate the day this year, such as:
- have morning tea or bake a cake
- send your grandparents a drawing or card
- read a book together
- write a play, choreograph a dance, learn a song or prepare a talent show to perform for your grandparents
- play a board game or do a puzzle
- call your grandparents and recite their favourite poem
- share old photos with your grandchildren and tell your stories
It also has a variety of resources, including activities, posters and other materials on its website for people to us.
Regardless of what you do, the NSW Government said the day is about spending time with an older loved one and connecting across the generations.
Feature image: Canva Pro