May 27th, 2009 Jamie
Lots of us–I’d hope to say even most of us–love our families. But that does not mean that we want to spend a day riding mini-rides at Legoland or following Mom around Monticello. So if your parents are insisting on some family time when all you want to do is go to the mall with your friends, I am happy to say that I have a few tips for how to (hopefully) enjoy fulfilling the family-time requirements of the summer.
(Okay, and actually, I am secretly a big fan of Monticello… )
Plan It Yourself
Want to give your parents a shock and knock out some family-bonding at the same time? I’d suggest planning a family excursion yourself. It will get you some good credit with your parents, and, best of all, it means you can choose something you actually want to do.
The best family outings have a little something for everyone–it means everyone can split off in different directions when you start to get on each other’s nerves. This is especially important for families where interests are very different, or there is a huge age range between the kids.
I suggest keeping it simple. Make a trip to the park or the beach. Pack some snacks or lunch for a picnic, and make it clear beforehand that its supposed to be a relaxing time. Mom can read the book she got at the library, your little brothers can build a sandcastle or play frisbee, your sister can feed birds, and you and Dad can go for a run. Its all about being flexible while being together.
Get it Together
If your parents don’t buy in to the separate-but-together idea, or if you secretly kind of want to have some real quality bonding time, try doing something new together. Getting family members of all ages together for something completely new can be fun (and sometimes hilarious, depending on what you attempt–can you imagine your Dad joining you for a hip hop class?).
Try taking a class together, even if it is just a one-day class. Artistic classes like dance or pottery can be good individual activities to do together, or something like a cooking lesson can be good to get everyone working as a team.
Just like in most other areas of life, your attitude is the real secret to enjoying your family. So if you’re feeling bummed out by your siblings (or parents) try to adjust your point of view.
First, shift your perspective. If you have the kind of family that wants to spend time together, that is something to be grateful for. Not everyone can claim that. It means that your parents and sibs value you, your presence, and your place in the family. So that’s pretty cool.
Second, make the decision to have fun. That really makes a huge difference. Decide that you’re going to try to make everyone else enjoy themselves, too. So if you’re waiting in a long line or trapped in the car, play games with your bored brother. If you’re visiting the same museum for the fouth time, learn something new, or compete with your sister to see who knows the museum guide’s speech better.
In a few months you’ll be back at school, so make the most of this time while you have it–you might actually miss it when you head back.