Celebrate Grandparents on September 8...and Every Day!

Portrait Of Extended Family Group In Park

Grandparents Day is an annual event in the U.S., celebrated on the second Sunday in September. In 2013, we will celebrate it on Sunday, September 8.

National Grandparents Day is rooted in the innovative work of two committed and passionate pioneers: Jacob Reingold and Marian McQuade. During the 1961 White House Conference on Aging, Reingold of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York was inspired by a speech concerning the "new image of the aged" and focused on recognizing the role of millions of older Americans who are grandparents.

That same year, on September 16, 1961, the first day specifically honoring grandparents was held at the Hebrew Home. By 1963, it became an official holiday in the Bronx. On January 27, 1987 the Congressional Record affirmed Reingold's pioneering efforts to gain recognition for grandparents as well as a national day to celebrate them.

In 1970, Marian McQuade began a campaign to establish a special day of recognition for grandparents. Through her efforts, she reached out to the civic, business, faith, and political leaders and began a statewide campaign for Grandparents Day.

In 1973, the first Grandparents Day in West Virginia was proclaimed by Governor Arch Moore.

Their work culminated in 1978, when the U.S. Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. A presidential proclamation was signed by President Jimmy Carter and thus began the observation of this special holiday.

In 2010, 2011, and 2012, President Barack Obama issued presidential proclamations calling on Americans to "honor those who have helped shape the character of our Nation, and thank these role models for their immeasurable acts of love, care, and understanding."

For more information on Grandparents Day, visit www.GrandparentsDay.org.

Special thanks to Generations United—a national organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs—for providing the history of Grandparents Day. Visit their Grandparents Day 2013 Do Something Grand Take Action Guide for tips on ways you and your organization can recognize grandparents—now and in the future.

Do Something Grand!

Do something grand to recognize the grandparents in your life!

Do something grand on Facebook! From September 8-14, change your Facebook profile to a picture with your grandchildren or your grandparents. In your status update, tell your friends why, and encourage them to change their photo, too.

  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper or call a local talk radio program. Ask the media and their audience to recognize Grandparents Day.
  • Organize an intergenerational dialogue in your neighborhood.
  • Encourage your book club to read books that highlight the important role grandparents play in keeping children safe.
  • Ask your organization to feature a speaker who can talk about local issues and supports for grandfamilies or about community opportunities for older adults.
  • Invite coffee shops and restaurants to offer specials or a discount for intergenerational pairs or groups.
  • Raise your voice as an advocate for grandparents and other kinship caregivers.
  • Plan an intergenerational field trip.
  • Volunteer together.
  • Read with children.
  • Cook together.
  • Ask an elder:
  1. Was there an event or news story when you were growing up that helped to shape how you think about the world?
  2. What was the first presidential election in which you voted? Would you have made the same choice today?
  3. What was the greatest challenge you faced when you were young? What do you think my friends and I could learn from your example?
  4. Have you ever volunteered for a cause or community event that really mattered to you? How did the experience change you?
  5. How do you think younger people could make stronger connection?

For many more ideas, read the Grandparents Day 2013 Do Something Grand Take Action Guide.