Time to head for the kitchen. We’re gonna chop, mix, and grill with the grands. And their friends! A lunchtime, cooking party spreads the love and encourages cooperation.
As a grandmother with nearly a dozen grandkids, I clearly see that my tween grands are the most easily left out.
I carry the babies around on my hips, the toddlers are snuggling in my lap and my teenagers are telling me about their new jobs, dream cars, and latest boy or girlfriends.
My in-between grandsons and daughters are generally focused on two things only–their friends and their video games.
I decided I wanted to pull them closer before they took off into their teen years. So far, I’ve accomplished that in the kitchen.
And since my tween-grands spend a great deal of time with their friends, I involve the whole gang whenever possible. Here’s one of my ideas that have taken root.
I throw a lunchtime cooking party on a Saturday afternoon. I try to make this happen three times a year.
We put together a simple meal of grilled cheese, fruit salad, and homemade brownies. The kids love to use my electric grill for the sandwiches and those slicing fruit and stirring batter really get into their part as well.
I have the kids change stations so everyone gets a turn on the grill.
Since we’re using a hot surface, some paring knives and the oven, I give a quick safety class and supervise from start to finish. I also make sure their parents know we’ll be cooking.
From kitchen to table to family room
When we all sit down to eat, I listen carefully to the conversation and engage each person. I’m a great question asker and sometimes the answers remind me of a simpler time or topics to address later with my grands.
After we clean the kitchen, it’s to the family room. I always “reward” my grands and their friends with time on their favorite gaming systems. And I join in when whenever possible.
Have you ever invited your grandkids’ friends to your home? At first, it can be nerve-racking but it usually pays off.
Start small and let us know how it goes. It may be the next, great step in your grandparenting experience.