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Celebrate Grandparents Day this weekend

It would be understandable if, between those curriculum nights, bake sales and traveling soccer games, you missed that this Sunday, Sept. 11, is Grandparents Day. After all, you don’t see endless commercials reminding you to buy a card or huge displays at the mall displaying this year’s gift ideas.

GrandCamp Adventures Products To Try:

Here We Go! This book tells the tale of
grandparents and grandkids use a magical compass to recover their
family treasures, with the goal of talking about what’s important
to you, and discussing tradition.

Here We Go! Music CD. To Grandmother’s house we
go! This CD includes music that helps kids connect to their
grandparents and can be played in the car on the way for a
visit.

Shake It Up! Who doesn’t love a secret
handshake? These cards give hand movements you can put together in
your own unique combination to establish a connecting point for the
grandparents and grandchild.

Meerkat Family Cuddly Collectables. These
cuddly plush animals represent the grandparents and grandchildren
and can be a fun reminder of family that might live far away.

Longbeard’s Treasure Hunt. As you go on this
treasure hunt, “gold coins” give you little memory joggers, like
drawing your neighborhood when you were 10, that help you tell
stories you might not normally share.

But Grandparents Day isn’t merely a so-called “Hallmark holiday”; the Sunday after Labor Day has been specially designated on calendars since 1978, when then-President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation making it a day to honor older generations.

And this year, Grandparents Day might be a perfect time to revitalize that important bond between grandchild and grandparent in your own family.

“The information that we’re finding in some of the studies we’ve come in contact with demonstrates that grandparents really view their grandchildren as among their highest priorities,” says Patricia Babuka, the CEO and co-founder of GrandCamp Adventures. “There are 70 million grandparents, and they are younger and very much engaged as grandparents today.”

Babuka says the relationship not only helps grandparents “build a legacy” through their grandchildren, it helps the kids understand how they fit into the context of their family and get a different perspective. There’s a reason, after all, that grandparents are often better known for spoiling kids than disciplining them.

“Grandparents can offer a different type of relationship,” Babuka says. “It’s a more simple and easy sharing than everyday trying to take care of your children.”

To that end, Babuka says grandparents and grandchildren need to make time for a relationship and ensure that time is sacred and nothing else gets in the way.

Babuka says there are three primary “tenets” for a healthy grandparent-grandchild relationship: fun, familiarity and frequency.

Time together needs to be enjoyable for both the grandparent and grandchild, but it “doesn’t always have to be ha-ha fun … just a way to connect and feel engaged.” Fun can range from reading a story to playing in the backyard to doing crafts together.

As for familiarity, “the more you know about one another, the deeper your relationship is,” Babuka says. She encourages grandparents to share stories about their own lives and what they were like as a kid, their children (the grandkids’ mom or dad) and something funny they did, and silly stories about the grandkids.

Finally, she says you need to carve out time as often as possible for the relationship, even if it has to be over the phone or Skype.

With Grandparents Day here, Babuka also offers some last-minute ideas for celebrating this year:

•Parents can help their kids pick out a photograph or drawing to send to their grandparents or set a phone or Skype date for sometime on Sunday.

•If you’re really feeling creative, have your child come up with 10 things they love about their grandparent and put each one on a piece of paper (with a drawing, if they’re artistically inclined). Those 10 things can be presented David-Letterman-style over Skype or in person and then given to the grandparent to keep.

“Don’t underestimate how important this relationship is,” Babuka says. “It is truly so powerful for the kids and so powerful for the grandparents to feel connected and know how important they are.”

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