When was the last time your kids saw their grandparents?

There are MANY different types of grandmas.


There are as many kinds of grandmothers as there are, well, grandmothers. According to the people who make most ads, TV shows and movies though, grandmas are nice, slightly squishy old ladies who like to bake and go to bed after A Current Affair. Most grandads are pleasantly grizzled old gents who wear floppy canvas hats, are good are building billy-carts and telling stories about the war – any war.

I was lucky when it came to grandparents, I knew all four of them well. My kids still have their four grandparents, we live close to them and spend time with them pretty regularly.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by The Aerogard Great Gran and Grampout. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

Not one of my grandparents, or my kids’ grandparents falls into the screen-cliches described above.

My father-in-law for example, fought in Vietnam, but understandably, prefers not to talk about it. Despite being 82, he’s right into computers and loves nothing more than the kids showing him the funny, stupid stuff they’ve found on YouTube.

My mum is 73 this month and is the opposite of your knitting nanna. She’s fit as a flea with a Stairmaster, drives a fast car (thankfully, not fast) loves a foreign film, and is more likely to take my girls shopping for new clothes than teach them to make scones. A pity, really, I like fresh scones more than new clothes.

My own bag of memories with grandparents is mixed. Pop was a racing man – my parents married on a Thursday because there was a big meeting at Flemington that Saturday. It was all right though because he won enough to cover the reception. His wife, my Gran, was a tiny, lovely woman. Gran did cook – her pasties were a standout, but she broke the mould by liking pop music and always watched Countdown with me.

Grandpa’s will let you get away with anything… just don’t tell Grandma!

We called Dad’s parents Nana and Grandpa. They were Croatian. Nana wore black and smelled of coffee. She a brilliant cook –  mysterious soups and feather-light donuts and walnut biscuits we called ‘horseshoes’ emerged from her teeny kitchen all day long. Nana had a hard life though and was almost always cranky, so the delicious food was often served with a scowl not a snuggle. We didn’t care though because Grandpa was a hug, personified. He had crazy white hair like Boris Yeltsin and wore the kid of black-framed glasses currently worn by hipsters. He drank schnapps and brandy out of thimble-sized glasses and ate boiled sausages and boiled eggs for breakfast every day.


Grandpa had a wooden speed-boat he let us steer. Actually, he let us do pretty much any thing – Violet Crumble for lunch? Sure (as long as we don’t tell Nana).

Roller-skate to church? No problem.

He described himself as ‘happy-go-lucky,’ and he was.

We were blessed to have spent as much time with my grandparents as we did. My parents had us young, and their parents had them really young. So when I was five, Grandpa was still young enough to enjoy carrying kids on your shoulders.

More and more families are makign an effort to join the generations, especially on the weekends – in Europe more and more families are going “Gramping.”

My in-laws started their family relatively late, in their thirties. And so did we so there’s not a lot of shoulder-lifts happening there – not without a trip to casualty.

But my kids love spending time with Grandma and Pa, talking books and computers and drinking cups of tea like grown-ups do.

I don’t know if I’d like to go back to the days where three or more generations lived under the one roof. But generally, even bad times with a cranky grandparent are good to have. They add to your sense of who you are, and importantly, give you stories to tell.

Life gets busy, so grandparent-time is getting squeezed. It’s sad – for kids and especially for grandparents. One study shows that 86% of grandparents would like to spend more time with their grandchildren.

The good news is, more and more families are making an effort to join the generations, especially on weekends and holidays – campsites across Europe are reporting an increase in bookings by extended families. This phenomenon has a name, “Gramping,” camping with the whole gang: your kids AND your parents (plus you of course, you don’t get out of it that easily).

That’s why we’re excited to be heading to Sydney for the Aerogard Gran and Grampout on Cockatoo Island at the end of the month. There’ll be stories around the campfire, tea and cake, music with words you don’t have to beep out and games where the controller is a bloke everyone calls Poppa.

Do you think kids and grandparents should spend more time together? What are your favourite memories with grandparents?

Aerogard is launching a nationwide Grampout – “The Aerogard Great Gran and Grampout” to celebrate 50 years of protecting Aussie families, and being part of all those happy summer memories you cherish!

If you are in Sydney on the 30th of November, Aerogard is showcasing the Great Gran and Grampout on Sydney’s Cockatoo Island. Families lucky enough to attend will enjoy a fun packed entertainment schedule! Apply* at

We are also encouraging Aussies to Grampout in  their own backyard, or favourite camping spot. . By registering your Grampout for this night – or on any evening through the summer – at grampers will have the chance to win $5000 worth of ‘Backyard Giftcards’*. You will also receive your free ‘Gramping Guide,’ a digital pack that includes camping tips, games and ghost stories.


*Terms and Conditions apply. Visit Authorised NSW Permit No. LTPS/13/07905, ACT Permit No. 13/03625