How to have not-lame family fun time without going bonkers

With summer comes obligatory family fun time, which, for most people, is about as thrilling as Mr. Rogers cardigans. Whether it’s a weeklong vaycay or a daylong hang sesh, it’s not always easy. It’s hot out, the photo ops are tedious, and you’re missing Madmen. Don’t freak. Turn that frown upside down and turn family time into the super fun party it should be. After all, these are the people who fed you, clothed you, and helped you move apartments 4 times during your undergrad. Show your clan a good time. Here’s how.

GET INVOLVED. Suggest some activities you’re genuinely interested in. Your family will be happy you did. Scattergories tournaments, backyard fire bowl s’more making and story telling/memory sharing, canoe day trips, berry picking, or take a class or workshop together.

MAKE AN EVENT OF PLANNING. If you’re going on an extended trip, get everyone involved in planning so you can all have a say in where you go/what you do once you get there. Planning your trip or outing just makes it a lot more exciting and will make your memories more vivid. Have a themed dinner night with the cuisine of the place you’re visiting, or have a movie night and watch a film that shows your destination in its most epic glory.

BREAK AWAY FOR SOME ME TIME. Plan some personal activities you can do to break away for some me time when you really think your family may be the death of you. Being present and engaged and being able to give of yourself starts ultimately with putting yourself first. Before irritation builds up inside you like a bubbling geyser and results in an epic tantrum, step away. Then come back and bake brownies with mom.

BOOZE. Family time is so better with alcohol. Smash a whiskey shot and lively up yourself.

TREATS. Don’t underestimate the power of the prospect of ice cream. Promising yourself a treat can make any trying day go by much quicker.

SMILE. Did you know smiling actually makes you feel happier? One study found that people who have had Botox injections, and are thus unable to frown reported feeling happier and less anxious than those who haven’t had the needle jabbin’. Weird. Our muscles, organs, brains, and emotions are all totally connected. Don’t get Botox, just smile more. This tends to go hand in hand with number 3.

~ Kait Fowlie

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