by Ken Canfield, Ph.D.

Did you know that this Sunday is Grandparents Day?

We celebrate mothers in May and fathers in June, for good reason. But few people celebrate or even know about Grandparents Day, and we’re out to change that. The grandparent-grandchild bond is precious and unique. That love and care between generations is something to be celebrated.

Our research notes tremendous benefits that come to everyone involved—grandparents, grandchildren, and even parents—when there’s harmony and a commitment to one another across the generations. Grandchildren honor their grandparents, grandparents soak in the privilege of having such incredible grandkids, and the parents encourage the goodwill in both directions.

For grandkids and parents of grandkids …

Children and adults all over the world need to be more aware of the strength and guidance that older adults in their lives can offer, and then find ways to recognize and show appreciation to the grandparents they know.

Since Grandparents Day is this weekend, you have a few days to prepare something. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. At this point in our lives, we grandparents probably don’t want more stuff. But it means a lot if you make us feel special. It could be a meal together, or just a phone call to say “thanks” and “I appreciate you because…”

Do something special for the grandparents in your life. Thank them for the positive influence they have, the example they set, or something else you appreciate. Grandparents are powerful influences in a child’s life. And by honoring them, you’ll also bless their grandchildren in a big way.

Also, look for other grandparents or grandparent-figures around you—in your church or neighborhood—and thank them as well. Maybe find a way to help them or give them a small gift of appreciation.

For Grandparents: How to Do Grandparents Day Right

For those of us who are grandparents, commemorating Grandparents Day doesn’t mean we need gifts from everyone. In fact, many of us will be surprised if anyone even mentions that it’s Grandparents Day. We just enjoy spending time with or hearing from our grandkids; it really isn’t about us. Relating to our amazing grandkids is its own reward.

But I also believe it’s beneficial to view these kinds of “holidays” as opportunities to take our grandparenting to the next level. Maybe we can even view this as the start of a new year in our lives as grandparents: reflecting on the past year and setting goals and resolutions for the future as it relates to our grandkids. How can we be more strategic about our involvement in their lives? In what ways do they need special encouragement from us?

We can recommit ourselves to be the best we can be for our children and grandchildren. Maybe we can even give gifts to our grandkids because of how thankful we are for them—and because there is so much joy in seeing them smile.

So Grandparents Day should be a celebration of young life uniting with old life, and the strength and stability that comes to families as a result.

Happy Grandparents Day! I hope you’re honored in a big way this Sunday. You deserve it because you play a vital role in your grandchildren’s lives. Have a great year!

Do you care to share any goals or resolutions you might want to make for the next year of your grandparenting? Share your thoughts and join the discussion on our Facebook page.