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What is Grandparents' Day and when is it in the UK?

Last updated 5th May 2022

3 min read

A grandpa playing games with his granddaughter

Grandparents come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: the love and pride they have for their grandchildren. Being a grandparent is an important role and it's only fitting that the world gives a little back one day each year on Grandparents’ Day.

So what is Grandparents' Day?

Grandparents’ Day is a day dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating the important contribution made by grandparents to their families. It is an opportunity for families to show their appreciation, gratitude and respect for the older generation.

Families can celebrate by spending time together, sharing stories and encouraging some quality, precious time between grandparents and their grandchildren.

It will be joyous for many, but it'll also be a sad time for others too, as we reflect on the grandparents we've loved and lost.

While it’s not as widely celebrated as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, Grandparents’ Day is increasing in popularity. And it’s the ideal occasion to spend some quality time with your grandchildren.

When is Grandparents' Day in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, Grandparents’ Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of October. In 2022, it’ll be celebrated on 2nd October.

The origins of Grandparents' Day?

Originating in America, Grandparents’ Day became a recognised holiday in 1978 following Marian McQuade’s campaign to create a day to celebrate grandparents.

After volunteering in a nursing home, she discovered that many of the residents got little to no visitors. This inspired her to create a day that highlights the importance of the older generation to the younger generations.

On 3rd August 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation saying that the day is intended “to honour grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”

Grandparents’ Day was first introduced in the UK in 1990 by Age Concern. Since October 2008, it’s been celebrated on the first Sunday of October every year.

How to celebrate Grandparents' Day

The importance of Grandparents’ Day is to spend some quality time with your family. Gifts and surprises are lovely, but this holiday is all about uniting the two generations and sharing some love and knowledge.

Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of your time with the little ones this Grandparents’ Day.

1. Make a photo album

Photo albums are a great way to share stories and adventures of time gone by.

Whether it’s photographs of activities you did together, photographs of your youth, or your favourite photographs of the grandchildren, this is a great way to reminisce together.

2. Bake

Is there anything tastier than a freshly baked cake? Why not head to the kitchen with your grandchildren and make some sweet treats this Grandparents’ Day.

If you’re lucky enough to live close to your grandchildren, you can make memories in the kitchen. But if they’re far away, why not video call and make the same recipe together?

3. Play a game

From board games to fancy dress to outdoor fun, playing games with your grandchildren is a great way to connect and learn new skills.

Card and board games can improve memory and enhance brain function through numbers, letters, and colours – whilst also teaching children cognitive and problem-solving skills.

4. Go for a walk

Organising a walk is a great way to spend time with your grandchildren and educate them about the natural world. It’s also a healthy activity for the whole family.

The weather may be a little chillier in October, but parks and green spaces will look beautiful with their autumn colours.

5. Get crafty

If you’re looking to encourage your grandchildren’s creativity and imagination, arts and crafts are perfect.

You can use things you already have around the house or purchase ready-made craft kits. Activities like these also mean you and your grandchild have a memento to hold on to after the day.

Whether it’s paper crafts, painting or Play-Doh, there are loads of things you can try out together.

6. Watch a film

A perfect way to end the day is relaxing together with a good film.

Why not build a pillow fort, eat some popcorn and watch the latest animated film together? This will be a great way to wind down after your other activities and get the little ones ready for home or bedtime.

Next steps

If you’ve enjoyed learning about Grandparents’ Day, you may want to take a look at some of our other lifestyle blogs. Want to know what type of grandparent you are? Take our quiz today.

At SunLife, we also offer a range of services to help you make the most of life after 50: