This year, Grandparents Day in Australia will be celebrated on 30th October. This special day celebrates the role older people play in our society and focuses on recognising the diversity grandparents bring into relationships across age groups, cultural backgrounds and geographic locations. Grandparents Day is the perfect opportunity to spend some time with an older loved one and connect across generations.
Grandparents have an important and unique role in the lives of children. Alex Haley puts it this way,
“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.”
This is why we have a national event to celebrate them every year on the last Sunday in October. This year, Grandparents Day in Australia will be celebrated on 30th October.
This special day celebrates the role older people play in our society and focuses on recognising the diversity grandparents bring into relationships across age groups, cultural backgrounds and geographic locations. Grandparents Day is the perfect opportunity to spend some time with an older loved one and connect across generations.
The changing roles of raising a child
In Australia, the traditional role of raising a child is changing. As many mothers return to work, fathers and grandparents are now sharing the daytime responsibility of caring for children. As a result, we are seeing diversity in who brings children to playgroup - in particular, grandparents.
Anne, who attends our Norah Head playgroup with her two year old grandson, Toby currently cares for him one day a week while her daughter Natalie works. My daughter is working one day a week, so I’m supporting her in doing this,” explains Anne.
She tells us that there are grandparents that she knows who are caring for their grandchildren five days a week. “It’s such a sacrifice [of love],” says Anne. “Knowing the commitment it takes to care for Toby one day a week, I have to acknowledge the grandparents who take on most weekdays. I think they’re amazing!”
Grandparents bond with their grandchildren at playgroup
Playgroup NSW holds over 800 playgroups across the state each week, and many of them are attended by grandparents and their grandchildren.
Anne tells us that playgroup helps to create a strong bond between her and Toby. “Playgroup is a great activity that Toby and I can structure into the day. It’s something he looks forward to [as well as chinos on the beach with Nanny’s friends!!].”
The playgroup that Anne attends is a community playgroup, where there is a mix of younger mums and grandparents. “The younger women there have accepted me into their circle,” says Anne.
The other benefit of having grandparents at playgroup is that it’s great for children to spend time with older people. Anne says that she has noticed that her grandson is able to blend into situations with different people of any age.
Playgroup spanning across generations
Sometimes we come across grandparents who are now experiencing playgroup with a second generation in their family. Anne is one of them. “I had twins who are 32 now. I took them to playgroup when they were little.” When we asked her what her experience was, Anne tells us she has great memories of attending playgroup over 20 years ago, “It was great to meet mums the same age and have a cup of tea,” she recalls.
Ebonney Rhodes lives in the picturesque sea-side area of Lake Macquarie and is very lucky to have her extended family nearby. Ebonney originally joined Lakelands Puddleducks playgroup with her older daughter four years ago. Now she has three generations and three branches of the family all attend together.
Ebonney’s mother and mother-in-law also attend with Ebonney's niece and nephew. All three children are only a few months apart in age and around 3 years old. Families like Ebonney’s coming together is what makes playgroup a real community.
Pictured here from left to right are: Shanelle Ingram, Ebonney’s sister; Xander Ingram, Alexis’ cousin; Robyn Ord, Ebonney’s mother; Finley Rhodes, Alexis’ cousin; Ebonney Rhodes, Lakelands Puddleducks Playgroup member for four years; Robyn Rhodes, Ebonney’s mother-in-law and Alexis Rhodes, Ebonney’s younger daughter.
Grandparents are actively involved
Some playgroups have large numbers of grandparents in attendance. One of them is the New Lambton Guys & Dolls, located north of Sydney. The playgroup is run by grandparents Roz & Gay (who are the Committee members). However, there are approximately eight grandmothers and grandfathers in total who attend this playgroup, along with plenty of mums and a dad as well.
When we asked Anne if she would encourage other grandparents to take their grandkids to playgroup, her response was: “Absolutely! Because you’re socialising with other kids, learning to share - especially for an only child. Playgroup is great for helping children to Graduate from being away from Mum, preparing them for preschool and for school.”
Find a playgroup today...
A lot of grandparents and parents agree that playgroup offers children a chance to socialise and try new play activities.
Playgroups are an important part of early childhood, and parents across Australia recognise the importance these gatherings have to their children’s development.
You can find a playgroup in your area or if there is not one in your area, click here to discover how to start a playgroup.
Feel free to contact us for any questions, enquiries, or additional information.