Grandparents and grandchildren share a special relationship, so shouldn't there be a day to honor their love? As it turns out, there already is! National Grandparents Day is celebrated annually the first Sunday after Labor Day -- in 2013, it's September 8th.
To help you celebrate this holiday, Dr. Fran Walfish, a family psychotherapist, Sue Johnson, author of "Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren" and Sandy McCumsey, a grandmother from Streator, Ill., share their ideas for making National Grandparents Day a special time for your family.
Make a Photograph Craft
Grandparents love photographs of their favorite kids, so incorporate pictures into a project. Johnson suggests making a place mat by laminating a photo collage or adding magnetic tape to the back of a photograph for a special refrigerator decoration.
Times have changed since grandparents were young, and kids will be fascinated to find out what life was like when grandma and grandpa were growing up. Grandchildren can interview their grandparents about their childhood and record their findings. McCumsey recalls that when she completed this activity with her granddaughters, "They were amazed that we didn't have a television when we were really young."
Perform a Song
A performance dedicated to your grandparents will be a special memory. Organize all of the cousins to sing a song for grandma and grandpa. If grandparents live far away, Johnson suggests sending an audio or video recording of the children singing.
Bake a Treat
Adult relatives can help kids bake muffins or cookies for their grandparents. According to Walfish, "The No. 1 thing grandparents want most from their grandchildren is time," so another fun idea is to hold a baking day, where several generations work together in the kitchen.
Offer Thoughtful Services
Grandparents do many things for their grandchildren, so the kids can use their own abilities to reciprocate. Johnson suggests that you, "Make a little coupon booklet of things the grandchildren can do for the grandparents." Children can offer to pose for a picture, do yard work or wash the car.
Record Your Family's History
Family trees, scrapbooks and personal anecdotes gathered from various relatives can all be special keepsakes. Johnson suggests parents film a video called "Our Family History from the Eyes of your Grandchild."
Hold a Sleepover
Walfish recommends that adults "step up and offer to coordinate a sleepover" for the grandkids at the grandparents' house. Since the purpose of the party is to encourage grandparent-grandchild bonding time, make the event easy on the grandparents by having a pizza delivered or providing breakfast food and juice.
Send a Homemade Card
A card is a loving gift for grandparents both near and far, especially if it's handcrafted. Provide your children art supplies, such as paint, colorful paper scraps and stencils, and see what they come up with.
Johnson has another creative idea: "Make a homemade puzzle card. Paste a photo of the grandchild on cardboard, cut it into pieces and send with a note that says, 'Put this together and see who loves you!'"
Cook a Meal
"The kids can organize planning, preparing and serving a meal to grandma and grandpa," proposes Walfish. Include some of the grandparents' favorite foods. Deliver it to their house or invite the whole family over to enjoy the meal together.
Share What You Love
Words of appreciation are a treasured gift. McCumsey remembers a time when her grandchildren made a book about the things they like to do at grandma's house. Walfish suggests having a family meal, where the kids "go around the table taking turns expressing words of appreciation for specific good your grandparents have done for you."
No matter what you decide to do in honor of National Grandparents Day, if it's done with love, it will special to grandma and grandpa. "I have saved everything that I have ever done with [my grandkids] on Grandparents Day," says McCumsey. This year, set aside this holiday to honor the grandparents in your life with these meaningful ideas.
Meghan Ross is a freelance writer with a background in child development, education and family life. Her work can be found here.