Grands are Grand (Grandparents’ Day)

Matti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My grandparents rocked in my eyes – my grands were grand. They played games with me, sang to me, shared with me, hugged me – they were grand people. They told me about my parents being a child – something I couldn’t imagine as a young child.

The one great-grandmother who I had the pleasure of knowing was the only adult who made me lemon lime Kool-aid with the whole cup of sugar. She had a parakeet – Joe Bird, who sat on her shoulder, pulling the needle through when she hem-stitched. I have wonderful early childhood memories of the family farm with a cistern and a three seater out-house. (Hey, I visited in the spring and summer so an out-house wasn’t as negative an experience as it would have been in the dead of winter.)

That isn’t saying they were perfect. They were grand folks to know. They helped me understand myself and the world around me.

I also adopted a couple as additional grandparents. When I was about three we moved to Hammond, IN. A couple at church had the same last name as my dad’s parents. Immediately, I decided they, too, where Grandma & Grandpa. Luckily, they were game for this. And, their teenage sons loved to take me to fairs and to play games with me. These grands were grand.

All these people and many others come to mind on Grandparents Day (September 9, 2012).

Hopefully, my intergenerational posts speak volumes about sharing with grandfriends or grandparents. And, that there are lots of things you can find to do with them. Yet, I wanted to share a few Grandparent’s Day ideas with you. Feel free to use them any day you want a grand to feel grand.

For those facilitating grand and child interactions here are a few tips.

1. Be aware of the challenges the grand is experiencing. Health issues and assistive devices can impact interactions. Tolerance of extended interaction might be less. Realize hearing aids tend to amplify all sounds so speaking one at a time can ease challenges.

And, children may also have concerns. A child may wonder about a tube under the grands nose. They might think of canes or wheelchairs as toys. Realize that when you wear a hearing aid,  background noise especially voices can be an issue. Depending on the age of the child, you can find ways to make this a positive interaction for all. Answer a child’s question about devices in a respectful manner.

2. Remember, we all have abilities or strengths. Even a baby has an ability. Build on the ability. If both the grand and the child are active find something active they can do together.

3. Have a plan B and maybe a plan C. All of us have good and bad days. Weather can change. Have a couple of alternatives ready should there be a need.

4. Try not to sweat it. Don’t try to make it a perfect visit – try to make it a visit that has a memorable moment or two. Worrying will not improve the situation. And, remember the grands and the children don’t need to spend the whole time together to make it a positive.

5. Consider taking a photo or journaling about  the time together. It helps hold that memory for years to come.

Some families love to share music in preparation for getting together or to share when they are together.

These are some songs about grandparents:

  • Grandma’s Feather Bed (John Denver)
  • A Song For Grandma and Grandpa  (Johnny Prill)
  • Mountain Music  (Alabama)
  • Grandpa (The Judds)
  • Grandad (Clive Dunn)
  • In Color (Jamey Johnson) has a few fun parody songs for the day for those who enjoy sharing songs:

For those into newer tunes, check out this grandparent version of “Call Me Maybe”:YouTube Preview Image

How do you observe Grandparents Day? Please share  it in the comments below.

*Looking for more ideas to assist in these intergenerational relationships? Click here to sign up for Bright Ideas – a FREE newsletter of ideas that comes out twice a month.

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    • JoAnn Jordan Reply

      Glad you approve!

  • Ann Becker-Schutte Reply


    Our parents are so integrated into our children’s lives that I think sometimes we forget Grandparent’s Day–we make a big deal out of them for Mother’s Day & Father’s Day and their birthdays.

    Thanks for the reminder that we can celebrate them on another day as well!

    Ann Becker-Schutte recently posted..Anger & Illness: Suggestions for Healthy CopingMy Profile

    • JoAnn Jordan Reply

      While we can appreciate people any day of the year, it can be nice to have that extra reminder to let someone know how special they are.

  • Arlene Johnson Reply

    A great reminder and tips to celebrate Grandparents Day.


  • Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) Reply

    My mom was/is the closest grandparent…she was a third parent to my son. I didnt pay much attn to GP -Day. Thanks for bringing it up. Now that she has more profound dementia, it is hard to see her for extended periods of time. She just cant tolerate it. It;s difficult for us to adjust to this. thanks for the post.
    Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) recently posted..Book Review: One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood by Ivy Shih LeungMy Profile

    • JoAnn Jordan Reply

      Lengthy visits can be a strain on anyone. Just enjoying a cup of coffee or a short walk can mean a lot to people. My observations is people enjoy smiling faces and personal interaction whenever we can provide that – Grandparent’s Day or any other day. While your mom may not remember your visit, chances are there are those around her who will. Community members often make comments: “It was nice to see Alice’s family” or “Isn’t Sam’s grandson good looking?”. My experience is supportive visits make a difference to the individual and the community.

    • JoAnn Jordan Reply

      What a blessing!I hope they share many insights and much joy with you.

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