Honoring Grandparents


Grandparent’s Day is Sunday, Sept. 13, and this year we may be honoring them differently.

Some of you may be sending them extra love because you and your children haven’t seen as much of them due to social distancing. Some of you may be thanking them a bit extra year for adding to your village and helping around while you balance work, school, and raising your children all at once.

We each have our own ways of honoring grandparents. In our family, grandparents love pictures of our children (printed or digital), original art from the grandkids, snail-mail, and of course lots and lots of stories.

3 Creative Ways to Honor Grandparents


My mother-in-law, Donna Smith, passed away from an awful battle with cancer in 2016. Our oldest was only two years old, and our son wasn’t even born. She would have loved him.

She loved butterflies, so we tell our children that butterflies are just Grandma Smith visiting to check in on us. This means each time we see a butterfly, we talk about Grandma Smith. They say hi to her and tell her about their lives. We tell them stories about her to keep her memory alive.

With our living grandparents, our children love to hear stories about when their grandparents were little and learn more about what they do when not baking cookies or driving tractor.


In addition to stories, show your children pictures of your parents. This will help them connect the family tree, and learn more about their interests and background. It’s hard to imagine our parents as children, so the pictures help tell the story. My dad is one of five siblings and they used to each hold the same angel food cake for pictures each year. I saw this photo of my dad holding his cake and thought it looked like my son!


Talk about the items in your homes that were passed down to you, even if only from your parents. We have a lot in our home, including cross-stitch art that my grandmother made for me that I have passed to my children. If you don’t have family heirlooms, work with your children to determine one to start passing down. This doesn’t have to be china or cross-stitch art. We are going to plant peonies in our back yard that have been in the Smith family for a century. Plant a tree today, watch it grow, and talk about its legacy for years to come.

How do you plan to honor grandparents this year?

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Niki grew up in Earlham, Iowa and now lives with her husband Ryan, daughter Riley, and son Merritt in Johnston. Riley has an observant stare that inspired the Facebook page Riley Is Not Impressed. Niki is an assistant director of public relations, social media at Drake University where she runs the university’s main social media accounts. She is also the director of the world-famous Beautiful Bulldog Contest. She has an Olde English Bulldog named Dexter, but he is ineligible to compete because she already knows he’s the most beautiful bulldog. She serves as President on the Board of Directors for Animal Lifeline of Iowa, which is a special needs, no-kill animal shelter. Niki is a two-time graduate of Drake University with a bachelor’s in journalism (2008) and a Master’s in Communication Leadership (2015).


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