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If you are living abroad away from your family, having a family gathering can be a logistical and expensive issue as you fly your family members in from around the world – or fly your family back to South Africa to visit your extended family. Family gatherings are an essential part of our social makeup and while some people might get stressed about the idea of a family gathering at Christmas or Easter, they do far better than you might imagine. Here is why family gatherings are so important and some family gathering ideas and tips that you can implement to ensure everything goes smoothly.

 

Importance of family gatherings

 

 

Bonding at family gatherings

Research is increasingly starting to show that young people who have strong family connections are far more likely to be well adjusted and make a better success of their life in terms of getting better education and jobs. Your family is a ‘safe’ environment where your children can learn to interact without being judged or ridiculed for any ‘unusual’ behaviour. In this safe, family environment they learn what is socially acceptable and the importance of social skills.

 

Setting a good example

Having family gatherings so your children can spend quality time with their relatives provide your children with the opportunity to follow the good examples around them. Children look up to their relatives and love hearing stories about their lives. These stories are part of their heritage and will give them insights into what they may face later in life and how to overcome challenges that they may encounter.

Interacting with older relatives will also help your children gain perspective about the issues they are currently facing. When they hear that Grandma had no TV or mobile phones throughout her entire childhood, – then having to have their screen time curtailed gains more perspective and allows them to appreciate their current situation.

 

Making memories

Family gatherings are times when memories are made – something that is very important if you live far away from your extended family. Many years from now, your children will be reminiscing about the times you all had together. To ensure that these memories are pleasant – here are some family gathering tips:

  • If you have young children at the toddler age or any age under 12, plan to meet somewhere outdoors in a place with a large garden or play area, so the children have space to run around.
  • Likewise, if you have elderly relatives, ensure that you have plenty of chairs in an area where everyone can comfortably congregate, so that the entire family can easily be together.
  • If your children are at the age when tantrums are likely, warn your older relatives that this might happen (especially if they are hosting) and plan to have a gathering at a home where you can put your child down for a nap if you see that they are getting overtired.
  • Warn family members about any sensitive topics. For example if your child has any allergies, it’s important that your relatives are aware of this and cater for it and don’t make an example of your child. Similarly, if you have a teenager that is going through a difficult time and who might be unsociable as a result – give your relatives advance warning so they are more understanding and empathetic.
  • Lastly, remember that not everyone has to stay to the end of a family gathering. If a family member has a difficult child and needs to leave or an elderly family member needs a rest, don’t be offended if they leave early. Getting together is the main focus – even if it just for an hour or two.

If you are a South African living abroad and would like to know more about how you can maximise your finances through the process of financial emigration from South Africa, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact FinGlobal today.