Celebrating Grandparents

Posted on September 1, 2016 at 6:00 am

By Gwendolyn Haley

Both my husband and I grew up living hours away from our grandparents, and consequently only saw them once or twice a year at most. When we started our family, we lived five hours away from our own parents, so our children were also on track to only see their grandparents a few times each year. When the opportunity arose to relocate and live in the same city as both sets of grandparents, we jumped at it.

As a result, our children have grown up with frequent contact with all of their grandparents—sleepovers, family dinners, celebrations. As the girls have gotten older, their grandparents attend school functions and help to chauffeur them to swimming lessons, music lessons, and camps. As our parents have gotten older, the girls are able to help them with chores like mowing the lawn. All of our lives are enriched by closer proximity and closer relationships.

Research has also shown that the benefits of grandparent-grandchild interactions go beyond free babysitting and help with chores. Children learn family history and values. They benefit directly from having a close relationship with adults who aren’t their parents and who can offer different perspectives tempered with experience.

For grandparents, regular time spent with grandchildren brings about better cognitive function and emotional health, as seen in a study published in the October 2014 issue of Menopause that found that post-menopausal women who spent time caring for their grandchildren lowered their risk of certain cognitive disorders.

Your local library is a great way to connect, both for grandparents and grandchildren. Come to a storytime or Lego club together. Then try out one of the many all-ages activities that we offer. The library is a terrific way to share a hobby, or discover a new passion together. Best of all, the library is free and, at several locations, open seven days a week. There’s truly something for everyone, in every generation.

Grandparents Day is celebrated on September 11 this year. Here are some titles from our catalog to help you celebrate grandparents all month long:

The Grandparents Handbook (nonfiction)
by Elizabeth Laban, Nana Barbara Trostler, and Grandpa Myron Laban

Find dozens of activities for grandparents and grandchildren to share.


Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great (nonfiction)
by Jack Canfield

Grandparents and grandchildren tell stories about one another in this anthology.


Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting (nonfiction)
by Lesley Stahl

Reporter Lesley Stahl explores how grandparenting changes your life in every way.


A Long Way from Chicago: A Novel in Stories (fiction)
by Richard Peck

A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother. This is a hilarious read aloud to savor with your grandchildren.


The Hello, Goodbye Window (fiction)
by Norton Juster, illustrated by Chris Raschka

A beautiful depiction of a child’s loving relationship with his grandparents.

Gwendolyn Haley

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