I was reading a great article about how to survive the craziest of your family members at the next family gathering. It involves creating a game, which I’ll explain in detail in a moment. But as I read it, it almost instantly occured to me that, with a minor alteration, this could be an AMAZING game for helping the easily overwhelmed child to not only cope, but have fun at the frenzied family event to come. Here’s the initial version of the game.
You create a couple of BINGO cards with items that are likely to occur at your event–things like Aunt Tilly will complain that the stuffing is too dry, Crystal will show off her naval piercing, and cousin Chester will ask for money. You choose someone to play the game with, but remember. . .it’s a SECRET game. Now when those annoying things occur, a small smile across the table at your fellow-gamesman will be your instinctive response. Check your card. See who’s winning. And wait for the next one.
This is GENIUS! It takes what would otherwise be highly frustrating and exhausting displays of family disfunction, and makes it fun and far easier to roll with. Dare is say it; it puts the FUN in dysfunction. How many times has THAT trite little phrase been more true?
Now. . .here’s the way to make this game a winner for your Sizzler.
Create cards with things that might otherwise overwhelm him.
Possibilities might include. . .
- cousins will fight over a toy
- Aunt Maureen will pat him on the head
- the mashed potatoes on his plate will touch the peas.
- people will start yelling over the music and each other
You know what his triggers are. Get ’em on there and make it part of the fun.
The one word of warning I would add is that these game cards need to be carefully guarded. If they fell into the wrong hands, it could start World War III. You might even want to use code words. Instead of having “Aunt Tilly will complain that the stuffing is too dry”, it may be better to have “Bread crumbs in the desert”. You get the idea. Only those “in the know” will actually know.
I think there should probably be a reward for having a full BINGO card and NOT having had a meltdown. In any case, take this idea and make the downside of the holiday get-togethers the UPside.
As always. . .one more thing to try.
If you’d like to read the original piece from the Wall Street Journal, click the link.