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Gramping 101 – Multi-generational camping for beginners


“Gramping” is the new term used to describe grandparents that go on camping trips with their children and grandchildren. Multi-generational camping has become very popular in recent years because it allows extended families to spend quality time with each other. In addition, gramping is an opportunity for parents and grandparents to pass along their knowledge of the outdoors to the younger generation, as they spend several days together in holiday parks.

Grandparents will love spending extra time bonding with their grandchildren, while the parents can enjoy a well-deserved break, making the camping trip more enjoyable for everyone!

So, are you ready to go gramping? Before you start getting the troops ready, here are a few tips on how to do it right.

Plan With The Entire Family

via http://adventure.howstuffworks.com

This tip never grows old. Getting your spouse, kids and parents (grandma and grandpa) involved from day one makes the family excited for the trip. Sure, you may have heard or read about this tip a hundred times before but it’s very helpful when planning a holiday for a large group of people.

Having your entire family finalise camping details together not only gets them excited for the trip, your parents can also suggest activities and destinations that are appropriate for them. Make sure that you choose a camping and holiday accommodation where your individual family members can do what they want to do. If grandpa wants to teach the kids how to fish, how about looking at coastal holiday parks? Does your spouse want to go on an easy hike with his/her mother? National parks have hiking and bike trails they can explore at their own pace.
Start with 5 destinations and list down the things your family likes about each of these destinations, and things they aren’t excited about. Discuss (debate, if you will) activities until you get down to the best holiday park, or at least the one everybody is happy with.

Remember: Grandparents Are NOT Babysitters (not full time, at least)

Let the grandparents have a holiday too! Image: GETTY

One of the great things about gramping is your childcare or child supervision needs during the trip are taken care of. Your parents are more than happy to look after the kids while you’re off doing something else. Kids on the other hand, love being with their grandparents because they know they can get away with almost anything – grandparents’ prerogative, sorry.

Do remember though, that grandma and grandpa didn’t come to the trip just to look after your children. They need to have a good time too, and should be allowed to do outdoor activities they enjoy as well. Don’t force your parents or grandparents to participate in games or activities they don’t like; and yes – this includes looking after your children during the entire trip.

Designate A Camping Happy Hour

It’s a different kind of happy hour to what we’re used to

While your kids and their grandparents would be out exploring the campsite the very minute they step out of the campervan, make sure that you’ve set a specific time of the day to gather the entire family and that you’ve made this clear to everyone during your planning stages.

After a full day spent exploring, swimming or hiking, call everyone and have them sit around the campfire for an hour or two of singing, storytelling, playing campfire games and of course – roasting marshmallows. Use this time to catch up with every family member and share outdoor experiences to your kids. Ban cell phones, laptops, tablet PCs during this time so the family can really talk to each other.

Respect Each Other Throughout The Trip

We only want happy campers here!

Spending several days in holiday parks with the same people, sharing tents and doing chores can get old after some time. This is true when you’re driving long distances to and from your chosen camping and holiday parks. To avoid getting on each other’s nerves, set expectations about the trip prior to leaving. Most importantly, respect every family member’s need for privacy and space even if it’s just for a few minutes in a day.

Let your kids, your parents, your spouse and even yourself have some quiet time during the trip. Set boundaries on noise, activities, sharing tasks and other aspects of your holiday. Addressing these issues before you go camping minimizes stress and everybody will get along better.

Enjoy The Little Things

Yummm! We want ‘smores!

After several weeks of planning and organising your gramping trip, remember that it’s the little things that make the holiday memorable. Do not try to control everything about the trip and just relax! Let your kids run and explore the campsite. Sit down and chat with your dad about his most memorable fishing trip. Let your mum give her grandchildren extra treats for dessert!

You’re on a holiday with your family, and it’s not every day that you get to have your parents and your own children spend time together. Laugh with your parents. Play with your children. Go on a long walk with your spouse. Don’t miss out on making great memories by trying to control everything. Enjoy the little things.

A three generation camping holiday may be a bit challenging to organise, but the time spent with your kids and parents is well worth the extra prep work. After all, the great outdoors are best enjoyed with family.

Have you decided on which camping sites or holiday parks to go gramping this year? Check out Campstay for a list of holiday parks your family will love!

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