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8 Ways to Celebrate National Parents' Day

Meghan Ross
June 11, 2013

Observe this special holiday with these fun and meaningful family-friendly activities.

Yes parents, this is a real holiday! Parents' Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Sunday of July.

It became an official holiday in 1994 and is a time to honor parents for the hard work they do of raising the next generation. On Parents' Day, people are encouraged to recognize the important contributions of responsible, committed parents in their communities. It's also a day for parents to celebrate their children and their family as a whole, according to the National Parents' Day Coalition.

To learn more about how families can observe Parents' Day, we consulted Dr. Laura Markham, author of "Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting;" Chelsea Duggan, blogger at Milestar Babies, and parenting expert Ellie Hirsch from Mommy Masters.

Here are their eight suggestions for making Parents' Day memorable:

  1. Hold a Family Conversation
    "Parents can sit down with their children and discuss the meaning of Parents' Day and come up with ideas to celebrate as a family," Hirsch suggests.

    Markham advocates having a discussion about family and parenting. Topics could include the best thing about your family, what qualities make a good parent and what makes a family close.

  2. Share a Family Breakfast
    A special breakfast is an ideal setting for a family conversation like the one described above. Hirsch recommends that, "Instead of mommy and daddy cooking breakfast, the whole family can get in on the action and use it as a way to bond." Assign each family member a task, so the job is accomplished by teamwork.

  3. Make a Memory Book
    "Create a family tree or scrapbook," says Markham. Work together to record the people, characteristics and activities that make your family special.

  4. Support Working Parents
    It's not easy being a working parent. And when both parents work, a family has to be creative and figure out how to adapt. Use Parents' Day as an opportunity to meet other families in your area in the same situation. Look on Meetup for parents' groups in your area.

    Schedule play dates and adults-only get-togethers that occur during non-business hours. Compare notes about hiring a nanny. Talk about how local parents can help and encourage one another.

    Markham also proposes that you "write letters to legislators in support of family-friendly policies in the workplace or government." And learn about 7 Ways Companies Can Help Working Moms ť

  5. Create New Family Memories
    Celebrate the holiday by planning future family fun. Two of Markham's suggestions are drafting a family bucket list or thinking up a new family tradition.

  6. Praise Someone's Parenting
    On Parents' Day, let another parent know what you admire about his or her parenting. "Another mother recently told me I always have a smile on my face when I am with my kids, which made me feel special," shares Hirsch.

    Markham says that parents can support one another "by making a point of giving each other positive feedback about our children or our parenting."

  7. Show Appreciation for Your Family
    Make this holiday a time for family members to celebrate one another. Duggan suggests that families work together to bake a cake, and then enjoy it together as a family.

    Hirsch says that parents should, "Ask your children, depending on their age, to write down or say three things that they appreciate about you as a parent. Afterwards, do the same and write down three things you appreciate about your children."

  8. Host a Neighborhood Get-together
    Celebrate the parents in your neighborhood by inviting their families over for a cookout. "It's a great moment to get together and enjoy all that summer has to offer," says Duggan. It also grants you the opportunity to get to know the other parents who live around you. The better you know one another, the more you can support and encourage each other.

"Parents' Day is an opportunity for our society to honor the very tough and critically important job that every parent does every day: raise the next generation of citizens," Markham says. With that in mind, make this Parents' Day an important occasion for the adults and children in your home.

Meghan Ross is a freelance writer with a background in child development, education and family life. Her work can be found here.

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