Everything You Need to Know About Parents’ Day

family smiling, being playful on the couch

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Key Takeaways

  • Parents’ Day was signed into law in 1994.
  • The first Parents’ Day was celebrated the following year.
  • Organizations and all levels of government celebrate the day by supporting and encouraging parents.

There is Mother’s Day in May. There is Father’s Day in June. There is also Parents’ Day in July.

Parents’ Day may be a lesser-known holiday, but it has great significance in meaning. It was established almost 30 years ago and shines a spotlight on the tough yet rewarding job of being a parent.

What is Parents’ Day?

Parents’ Day is celebrated the fourth Sunday in July; this year it falls on July 25.

It differs from the other traditional holidays in that it encourages organizations and government to help support parents in their roles as they raise children. Galas, proclamations, and even suggested acts of service are ways that organizations suggest honoring the important role that parents have.

Tracy Ford

Parents’ Day should focus on the joint role of the parents for their child or children. Parenting should be done together, as a team.

— Tracy Ford

While many parents weren't aware of the holiday, the importance of it doesn't escape them. “Parents’ Day should focus on the joint role of the parents for their child or children,” says mother Tracy Ford. ”Parenting should be done together, as a team. Parents need to try to work together, to make decisions together, and seek to meet the needs of their children together. I think it is a needed holiday!”

How Did It Start?

Congress passed “The Parents’ Day Resolution” in 1994. President Bill Clinton signed it into law that same year.

The resolution stated that private citizens, along with federal, state, and local governments should recognize the day through activities, educational endeavors, and proclamations.

The first Parents’ Day celebration was held in 1995.

Previous Celebrations

From proclamations to awards ceremonies, people worldwide have found a number of unique ways to celebrate the holiday.

Stating that “Parents are at the root of America’s goodness,” parentsday.com takes nominations then gives an award for Parents of the Year annually.

Universal Peace Federation has held galas in honor of the holiday.

Family Federation for World Peace and Unification coordinated celebrations in several states, many consisting of proclamations and awards.

Safe Families for Children encourages parents to help and encourage each other. The organization also promotes support through acts of service.

Several American cities have sponsored activities and events to honor the special day.

Internationally, Vietnam recognizes Parents’ Day on July 7. Their festivities focus on children pampering their parents, and making them feel special. In South Korea, Parents’ Day is celebrated on May 8. The public and the government honor parents with flowers, celebrations, and awards.

Interestingly, in 2012, the United Nations declared a Global Day of Parents, to take place on June 1.

Ways You Can Celebrate

You can find your own unique ways to celebrate parents, encourage them in raising children, and acknowledge their sacrifice and labor of love.

Here are a few ways you can personally make your parents feel special.

  • Have a day of board games. It’s a fun time of family enjoyment, with very little cost.
  • Look at old family pictures and reminisce. You could even work on putting together your own scrapbook.
  • Take a scenic drive around your area. For even more bonding time, keep the radio off and enjoy talking.
  • Go for a picnic. Take care to pack some of your parents’ favorite foods.
  • Visit a place of special significance or a place you’ve been wanting to experience.
  • Read together. This is especially effective with younger children.
  • Give parents the day off. Make them dinner or take them out to eat.
  • Clean the house or wash your parents’ car. You could also hire a cleaning service or take the car to be detailed.
  • Ask questions about your parents’ childhood. Watch their eyes light up as they share memories.
  • Watch a movie together. For a special treat, find a less-frequented drive-in movie theater.

Don’t forget—Parents’ Day includes grandparents, too! You can use these ideas to have a memorable time with them as well.

Ford says she and her family will make the most of the holiday and the warm weather. “We are celebrating together as a family and with grandparents. We will enjoy a summer picnic and time at the pool,” she states.

Jana Strickland says she and her children will make it a day of service. “We’ll bring some formula and diapers to our local Pregnancy Resource Center for the new moms there. Now that I know the purpose of the holiday, it seems fitting we should look for ways to support some local parents,” she notes.

No matter how you choose to commemorate the day, the most important thing is to show appreciation for your parents and other parents you know and encourage them in their pursuit of raising kids.

What This Means For You

Parents’ Day is a day to recognize the tremendous sacrifice of parenting, and support parents worldwide. From large statewide celebrations to small personal acts, there are a number of ways you can honor your parents. Take the time to encourage a parent today.

By LaKeisha Fleming
LaKeisha Fleming is a prolific writer with over 20 years of experience writing for a variety of formats, from film and television scripts, to magazines articles and digital content. She has written for CNN, Tyler Perry Studios, Motherly, Atlanta Parent Magazine, Fayette Woman Magazine, and numerous others. She is passionate about parenting and family, as well as destigmatizing mental health issues. Her book, There Is No Heartbeat: From Miscarriage to Depression to Hope, is authentic, transparent, and providing hope to many.Visit her website at www.lakeishafleming.com.