At the risk of sounding a lot older than I really am, these days it does feel like all that kids seem to do is stay inside and spend time on their cell phones!  While I certainly do not begrudge them this, I have found it difficult to convince them to come outside with me – even for family fun nights.  This has meant that my husband and I need to get a bit more creative as of late.

What does that look like, then?  Well, obviously it tends to depend on the season and sort of mood that my hubby and I are in.  When we are feeling motivated and ready to cook, we usually fire up the grill and work together to make a fun evening for everyone involved!

If that sounds appealing to you, consider sticking around!  While there are a ton of blog posts out there like this one that shine a light on why this really matters in the first place, I will assume that you come here already informed on those sorts of things. Instead, I will explain how you can spruce up your afternoons and nights in the great outdoors.

Making Things Fun Again

As our kids get older, it becomes harder to convince them that spending some time getting fresh air is worthwhile and entertaining.  That feels especially true once they reach those dreaded teenage years.  I admit, I was one of those bratty teens who turned my nose up at the very thought of hanging out with my family on the back porch. I much preferred sitting at my computer and playing video games.

While my parents opted for the approach of grounding me in these situations, let us just say it was not very effective. Punishing me for not hanging out shockingly did not make me want to go out more than before – it had the opposite effect.  If you are a parent reading this, allow me to provide you with some alternatives to this method that I have found much more effective with my own children.

Some might believe that this boils down to “bribing” them to be with family.  That is not how I view it, though.  Rather, offering some positive incentives and reinforcement for leaving their bedrooms is a much better way to see it.  How does it work?

If you have a brick oven grill, you could always sweeten the deal with some food.  It is hard to resist the call of some delicious grilled food, after all.  Pick up some favorites from your local supermarket and plan this in advance if you want to go this route.  Crowd pleasers like burgers, hot dogs, and steak are typically winners in my household.

This is far from the only way to do it, but I have found it to be quite effective.  You can also get marshmallows for toasting on the embers of the fire once you have finished everything else.  Veggies like zucchini are well suited to this style of cooking as well.

Is it Worth it?

This is, of course, something that will largely depend on how your own family works and whether it is something they would be interested in at all.  If no one likes grilled food, well…it probably will not be worthwhile. However, it is certainly worth giving a shot, especially if no one is overly familiar with it.

Even setting up the piece can be a bonding activity, depending on how you go about it.  Overall, they can be some delightful activities for everyone to participate in. You can even encourage your kids to learn to cook alongside you and your spouse!  When everyone can participate, it tends to be more fun overall, which you can read about here: https://www.delish.com/entertaining/g1634/unusual-grilling-recipes/.

What else can you do that involves one?  While everything is cooking, you can sit together and tell spooky stories (a Halloween classic, of course).  Even just sharing some events from the day and sharing how you are feeling can go a long way in making them feel more comfortable and relaxed.

As I mentioned, this style of encouragement tends to go a long way in comparison to punishment and anger.  Being around our families should be a fun time, rather than a stressful one.  If we make it out to be the former over the latter, the lasting bonds and memories can be an absolute joy to create.

Just remember that it might not always go perfectly, and that is okay.  We are all only human, and sometimes plans might not work out.  The burgers could burn, you could run out of wood or charcoal – really, the possibilities there are endless.  What will really matter is the spin that you put on it.  Staying positive can make a world of a difference.

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