Are you guilty of neglecting your family?

Inside: 5 tips for stress-free family gatherings.

There are often weeks or even months between family get-togethers, time just seems to fly by and before we know it half the year has gone!

It’s easily done, isn’t it? With school runs, sleepless nights, clubs, housework, work, and everything else that takes up daily life, it doesn’t take long before time has passed and you’ve not seen any family at all.

Apparently, there are over a million adults in the UK that don’t see immediate family more than once a year – which is, you’ve guessed it, Christmas day. It’s also been found that over half of Brits only see siblings 6 times a year or less! I can relate to that one actually as I hardly ever see my sister despite her only loving 5 minutes up the road!

That is terrible, isn’t it? 

She works and our weekends always seem to be taken up with birthday parties of school friends. But when we do meet up I always love it and wish we met up more often. Always the way, isn’t it?

Family time is essential to mental well-being according to psychologist Emma Kenny – with 9 meetings being the magic number!

“it’s become clear that families who see each other little and often are more likely to have a better sense of well-being and less tension among each other, opposed to those who save up their meetings for one or two key moments a year.”

I have decided that 2018 is the year to start making more time for family and this includes the wider family – not just the 5 of us. So in March we are all off to Center Parcs at Elveden Forest for some quality time together – I can’t wait!

We went last spring, just us, and had such an amazing time that I knew it would be the perfect place to have a larger family gathering. I know a few friends who regularly take trips to Center Parcs as a whole family and I have always fancied it too. When I told my sister she was so excited – 4 whole days of sister time (and everyone else of course!).

I know family time can be stressful for many people but Emma Kenny has some top tips to help…

Top tips for stress-free family gatherings

Meet semi-regularly – not too often that little things become annoying, but regularly enough that you don’t put too much pressure on the occasion.

Delegate – If you are getting together make sure everyone chips in by bringing food and drink along. This way no one needs to stress and everyone gets involved.

Have fun – Make meeting up fun by planning activities that you can all enjoy together. Whether it involves going to the park or taking part in a new activity. Trying something a little different means everyone will take something positive from the experience.

Get organised – If you want your get together to work out well, then make sure that everyone knows exactly what they are doing, where they are meant to be and what time they need to arrive. This means that no one becomes stressed or anxious and helps to create a harmonious event.

Take turns hosting – Make sure that your meetups are shared and don’t end up becoming one person’s responsibility. The whole aim of connecting regularly with your family is to increase bonding and make you all feel connected, and that can’t happen if one person has to be the host on each occasion.

Such great tips! I actually hosted Christmas this year and it definitely spiced it up a little and took the pressure off my mum who has done it every other year.

Taking our gathering to Center Parcs will add an extra dimension though and honestly, I am so excited! We are tying it in with my birthday too so it will be a real celebration.

How often do you see your extended family? Would you consider a family getaway?


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Katy is a wife, mum of three and professional blogger. Her blog, What Katy Said, aims to inspire other mums to get organised and make the best out of every day.

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