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Grandparents Day

This Sunday October 5th is National Grandparents’ Day!

Yes, it is another “day” when all the florists, gift shops and so on will be trying to sell us extra items.

The idea was actually not American as generally thought, but was first celebrated in Poland in the early 60s. Since then of course America did pick it up and now it has spread to the UK.

But go a step away from the commercial aspect and what a lovely concept it is!

Over the years, in Britain the role of grandparents has gone full circle. Traditionally, when big families all lived together, grandparents were an integral part of any household with hands on help for household chores and of course raising the kids.

Then, as young families could afford their own homes and work took people away, the patterns changed and grandparents often lived their lives separate from those of their children and grandchildren. The level of contact varied but before skype and cheaper travel; families could often find regular contact with grandparents difficult.

Now, as more and more parents are both working, grandparents have come back strongly into the family circle, offering child care and other support for super busy families.

And there is no getting away from it that grandparents are very special. Many people remember their grandparents as offering a kind, caring, stable background to their upbringing and now, as we age, we find we are in that role ourselves.

Grandparents Day can be an opportunity to spend some special time with the youngsters; to make sure they know we are there for them and, wherever we live, are an integral part of their family.

But of course not all grandparenting is straight forward and for some, it can be a time of heartbreak when perhaps divorce restricts access to grandchildren or other problems occur.

In 1987 a Grandparents Association was set up by a group of grandparents whose grandchildren had been put into care and contact was not allowed. Since then the association has flourished and now
offers support for thousands of grandparents in the country. Their helpline alone receives over 9,000 calls a year and they now provide help and support in a wide range of areas. Their services even include grandparent support groups in various communities.

To find out more, visit www.grandparents-association.org.uk

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