Do your children feel anxious in large family gatherings? Or maybe you do!
Perhaps your children (or you!) are introverts and all the conversation and questions about "how are you doing" rattles the brain and they just want to go into the back room and curl up with a good book.
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Truth be told, I personally do not hate family gatherings, but I am an introvert so I usually want to retreat with my book about 30 minutes into any large group celebration! It's not always so appropriate to just leave the scene, however.
Besides, no matter what our personality type, we all need help to know how to survive family gatherings.
Even if you, personally, don't dread getting together with crazy Uncle Bob or Perfect Cousin Mary, you do know that your children might feel anxious about all the attention they will get from relatives and friends who make it their mission to declare,
Look how tall you are!
What are you going to do with the rest of your life?
But again, simply shunning conversation is not usually the best solution to small talk and you want to model how to be polite and give your kids the tools they need to get through the event.
I have the perfect solution.
It's not complicated, and it doesn't require any preparation. Anyone can do it, and everyone can join in. It's a game that no one wins, no one loses and makes everyone laugh.
And you probably haven't even thought of it!
Next time you are off to grandma's house, or next time your 4 cousins are coming over with their 11 children pull out a stack of MAD LIBS.
Yes, that's right!
I adore using Mad Libs as a tool to avoid awkward interactions. I've shared before how we use Mad Libs at the dinner table to prevent the dreaded silence after you ask your child, "What did you do in school today, dear? You can keep a Mad Lib tablet in your purse for when you are waiting in line at the grocery store, and you can engage in Mad Lib tomfoolery when you are trying to keep your kids busy while you make dinner.
If by some chance you are not familiar with Mad Libs, let me enlighten you and bring you on to the team. Mad Libs is a word game that consists of stories with words missing. One reader holds the story and asks others in the group who haven't seen the story for words. The Mad Lib will specify what kind of word is needed–adjective, verb, etc.–to fill in the blanks. At the finish, the reader reads out the new, madcap story, complete with the words the other players supplied!
You can employ MAD LIBS to deflect anxiety, chaos and instead engage and captivate your extended family. Plus, if you have been using Mad Libs at home, your children are already experts and will dazzle grandma and grandpa with their impressive command of vocabulary and grammar knowledge! (Always very important.)
In addition, since there are SO MANY different themed Mad Libs, when you show up with Outer Space Mad Lib your astronaut Aunt Barb will imagine you were thinking of her.
Or if you bring along Game Over Mad Libs, Cousin Larry will put down his gaming device and join in.
Or if you bring along Spy Mad Libs, Cousin Pat will think you are actually interested in his private detective work.
Unicorn, Mermaids and Mad Libs will enchant everyone, of course.
Or, you could just stick to holiday themed Mad Libs.
Mad Libs have so many benefits besides keeping Gramps from pinching cheeks:
- They make people laugh!
- They make people think!
- They are screen-free!
- They are frugal!
So what are you waiting for? Stock up on the ultimate tool to survive family gatherings!
What will you do when the Mad Libs run out? One of these ideas:
- Indoor Family Games (no board necessary!)
- Indoor Creative Family Activities
- Brain Teasers for Family Gatherings