Wednesday, November 29, 2023


RVing grandparents make up for lost pandemic time with grandkids

One casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns was the unique relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild. The little ones change so much, so fast, that time lost with a grandchild is time lost forever.

An outfit called OnePoll just completed a survey of 2,000 American grandparents. It found that nearly 60% of grandmas and grandpas spent less time with their grandchildren during the past year.

Taking the pandemic into account, and its toll on older folks, that number likely isn’t surprising. But the survey – commissioned by Motel 6 – does put some focused hard statistics on just how sad the past year and a half was for grandparents and their grandkids. Most grandparents (4 out of 5) said not seeing their grandchildren was the hardest part of the pandemic.

The bond between grandparents and grandkids is unique

We all know that the grandparent/grandchild bond is a unique one. The OnePoll survey helped explain the bond when they asked about the “perks” grandparents grant their grandchildren when they are in their care. Here’s what they found:

  • Allowing them to have more screen time = 47%
  • Allowing them more sweets/extra dessert = 44%
  • Letting them watch movies or TV their parents banned = 43%
  • Letting them stay up past their bedtime = 37%
  • Reading them extra stories before bed = 30%

It’s no wonder grandparents garner all of those extra hugs.

The effects of the past year become all the more tragic when there was a new grandbaby in the picture. A full 2 in 5 of the 2,000 grandparents surveyed (42%) said they had a new grandbaby. And a full two-thirds of them (69%) said they have yet to meet their new grandchild face to face.

What comes next for grandparents and grandkids?

The survey also found that nearly 60% said they plan to spend a lot more time with their grandkids in the coming months. In fact, more than half of those surveyed said they are considering moving closer to their grandchildren. And 26% of them have already made the move.

About half of the grandparents surveyed said they are already planning their first trip to visit grandkids. RVers are definitely in the mix here, since the top three places grandparents plan to visit with the grandkids are mountains, beaches and campgrounds. RVers certainly have all three of those destinations covered.

The Yogi option

If you’re a grandparent RVer longing to take the grandkids on an epic excursion, where can you go? One easy answer could be the 70+ Jellystone Parks in the Leisure Systems network.

Older, childless couples may have always made it a point to avoid Yogi parks, with their plethora of kid-friendly activities and the guy in the giant bear suit. They can be a lot if what you’re seeking is a quiet place in the woods. But they are worth considering if you are looking for a place the grandkids will fall in love with.

“Because Jellystone Parks are family entertainment destinations rather than traditional campgrounds, our marketing efforts are aimed at individuals who are vacationing with children,” said Trent Hershenson, vice president of Marketing for Leisure Systems, Inc. “Our messaging resonates strongly with grandparents because of the wide array of attractions and organized activities provided at Jellystone Park locations such as pools, water slides, mini-golf, and foam parties. It makes it much easier for grandparents to play with and entertain their grandchildren than at a traditional campground where parents and/or grandparents have to entertain the kids themselves all day long.”

Grandparents can take a break

After a long day with the grandkids, it might be nice to turn them over to Yogi, Boo Boo and Cindy Bear for a while and take some “wine time.”

“When grandparents stay at a Jellystone Park for the first time, they often tell us they have an amazing time and immediately start discussing a return trip, even before the stay is over,” Hershenson said.

Obviously, there are hundreds of other great destination options for RVers wanting to spend more time with their offspring’s offspring. Jellystone Parks just happen to cater to the kids.

What are your plans with your grandkids in the coming months? Tell us in the comments below. 

RELATED: If you’re looking for great ways to keep in touch with loved ones and friends when you are on the road, check out this device we use and love. 


Mike Gast
Mike Gast
Mike Gast was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. for 20 years before retiring in 2021. He also enjoyed a long newspaper career, working as a writer and editor at newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. He and his wife, Lori Lyon, now own and operate the Imi Ola Group marketing company, focusing on the outdoor industry.



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Diane Mc (@guest_131108)
2 years ago

Resumed taking my son’s 3 daughters every week to my Mom’s beginning of May 2020. We stopped with the “slow the spread” in mid March. Then after reading all available info about kids & Covid, started back up. Mom is 92, not many days/years? left on earth. She was very depressed with no visitors and only a part time care giver a few hours during the day. She and I were willing to take the risk. Ironically, she fell before Christmas, needed some surgery/rehab. She tested positive for COVID in the rehab facility, but never had any symptoms. What she did have with her stay there with no visitor allowed was depression/memory issues. She is home now and back to be happy & her “normal” memory issues she had before the fall. And back to bringing her great grandkids to visit.

Drew (@guest_131104)
2 years ago

Very nice story. What nice pictures too. We camp with our grandkids too as often as we can.

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