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History of Grandparents Day

History of Grandparents Day:  How did Grandparents' Day get started?  Good question.  Read on to get the answer.

On the first Sunday after Labor Day, we celebrate National Grandparents' Day.  Similar to celebrating Mother's Day and/or Father's Day, a day was set aside to honor our grandparents.

The bond between grandparents and children is a special bond.  There are even some studies that show that children and grandparents interacting often actually helps the grandparents to live a longer life and makes the children more resilient emotionally.

I remember fondly my mother's mother.  I had a special connection with her.  To me, Grandparents' Day is an opportunity for children and grandparents to spend some quality time together to tell stories, play, have fun and ensure that the connection continues.

History of Grandparents Day

In 1969, nine-year-old Russell Capper sent President Nixon a letter suggesting that a day should be set aside in order to celebrate grandparents. On June 12, 1969, he received a letter back from Rose Mary Woods, Personal Secretary to the President, reading:

“Dear Russell, Thank you for your letter to President Nixon. Your suggestion regarding a Grandparent’s Day is appreciated, but the President ordinarily issues proclamations designating periods for special observance only when a Congressional resolution authorizes him to do so. With best wishes, Sincerely, Rose Mary Woods Personal Secretary to the President.”

Following this letter, Marian McQuade was recognized nationally by the U.S. Senate and by President Jimmy Carter as the founder of National Grandparents Day. McQuade wanted to educate the youth about the importance of seniors and the contributions they have made throughout history. She urged the youth to “adopt” a grandparent and learn more about their lives, challenges, and desires for the future.

In 1977, Senator Randolph, with the help of other senators, introduced a joint resolution to the senate requesting the president to “issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as ‘National Grandparents’ Day’.” Congress passed the legislation, proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparent’s Day. On August 3, 1978, Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation, and the day was finally celebrated the following year.

Importance of Grandparents

Grandparents are increasingly called upon to raise their grandchildren.  Here are some statistics (source: Grandparents Day — The Full History and How You Can Celebrate (

  • 4.8 million – the number of pre-school children in American who were cared for by a grandparent in 2011.
  • 23.7% – the percentage of grandparents who take care of children under the age of five.
  • 58% – the percentage of grandparents who say they care for their grandchildren because they enjoy doing it.
  • 53% – the percentage of grandparents who take care of their grandchildren so that their parents can work.
  • 22% – the percentage of grandparents who take care of their grandchildren to pass on family values.
  • >70 million – the estimated number of grandparents residing in the United States.
  • 38 – the age of the youngest grandparents.
  • 60% – the percentage of grandparents who work part-time or full-time.
  • $52 billion – the amount grandparents spend on grandchildren in a year.
  • 45% – the percentage of grandparents who are on social media.

Grandparents won't be around forever.  We need to celebrate our grandparents and treasure their wisdom, insights and stories.

Consider sharing this History of Grandparents Day with others.

I hope you enjoyed this History of Grandparents Day.

Now go hug an elderly person!

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