By Emma Thomas – Full-time mum to a one-year-old, part-time blogger and writer, with a background as a Kindy Teacher/Director

This month is Grandparents Day! Sunday 25th October is National Grandparents Day and is celebrated across the country in schools and early childhood settings. This is a time for us to reflect on the value that grandparents add to our lives and thank them for their contributions.

This year has been a strange one, with many families having less contact with grandparents, older relatives and friends in the community. As things are settling back down, now is a great time to make contact with these important people and celebrate their contribution to our lives and the lives of our children.

It is important for children to have connections and interactions with a wide variety of people. Spending time with older friends and family promotes child development, teaches life skills and develops special relationships.

I am very fortunate to have lots of family around, my daughter spends one day a week with my mum and one day a week with my husband’s mum. She loves the time spent with Nana Mimi and Nana Ruth! Last week she got to catch a bus to the State Library which was a wonderful new experience.

Not every family is able to have their biological grandparents involved as distance or other issues can prevent this. Thankfully there are many other people who can fill the role of a grandparents by being a ‘grandfriend’. Aunties and uncles are great, as well as neighbours, older work colleagues or friends. There are even organisations now where you can ‘adopt a grandparent’! We also have wonderful ways to communicate and connect with technology. One of my goals for this year was to go and visit my grandparents more regularly, this hasn’t happened with the impacts of COVID, however we have started a weekly video call which has been a lovely way to connect and for my daughter to develop a relationship with her great-grandparents.

Why are relationships with grandparents or other older people so important?

  • Grandparents and grandchildren are good for each other! They learn from each other, encourage each other and have fun together.
  • Grandparents provide a different type of care and nurturing than parents and help promote holistic child development.
  • Grandparents provide a different perspective which can be helpful for both children and parents.
  • Forming relationships with grandparents at a young age give children access to more safe adults in their life, something that is crucial during teenage years.
  • Grandparents have a wealth of life experience and can share valuable life lessons.
  • Grandparents teach family traditions and share cultural knowledge.
  • Grandparents and grandchildren encourage each other to try new activities or learn new skills.
  • Grandchildren learn how to interact with different adults and show respect.
  • Grandchildren keep grandparents on the go and active, both physically and mentally.

I hope you are able to catch up with your grandparents soon! If that’s not possible, think about what other older adults within your community you can connect with or if you can use technology to continue these important relationships.