Did you know that there is an Aunties and Uncles Day? Like Mothers, Fathers or Valentines Day, Aunties and Uncles Day is a celebration of the role of these people in a child's life.
In the UK, Aunties and Uncles Day falls on 26th July this year. Surprisingly few people know about this national day though - I certainly don't expect I'll be receiving a bouquet of flowers or even a card from my nieces and nephews this year. However, it's nice to know that there is a bit of recognition about the importance of this role in a child's life.
The best thing about being an auntie, for me, is that we can be whatever and whoever we want to be! While parenting rules are pretty much set, aunties (and uncles) can take on a variety of different roles to their nieces / nephews.
When all they need is a big hug from someone who really understands (when parents maybe don't) we are there.
Kids don't really care about the presents you send or how good you are at the games they want to play - what is really important is that you are there when they need you.
It's important that when you do spend time with the children in your life you aren't constantly distracted.
Put your phone away, play the game they love so much for the millionth time, patiently wait the however long it takes for your nephew to tell you his funny story about nursery.
Showing up doesn't mean you always have to be there in person, either. If you don't live close by, or don't have enough free time to pop round as often as you would like, you can still create and maintain a close relationship over FaceTime or Skype.
The best way to learn something new is through fun. A great auntie / uncle can sift through all the choices and use wisdom and experience to make sure the most important lessons are learnt while still always having fun.
What are the important lessons to teach your niece / nephew(s)?
Whether you like it or not, you are a role model now. Everything you say, do or show can be copied and will be aspired to.
Think carefully about the life choices you want your niece/nephews(s) to see.
Are you planning to spend much time with your own nieces and nephews this summer? Let us know your top tricks and tips for spending time with kids in our comments.
If you're looking for ideas for fun games and activities to do with your nieces / nephews, take a look at our gifts too!
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If you're lucky, when you were a child you lived near to a large close-knit group of family. Not everyone has this sort of idyllic childhood, though, so here are five key reasons that I think the best aunties aren't always real aunties at all.