Dreading going to a family gathering but your mom or partner keeps on nagging on your head about it? Well don’t let the tension ruin your reunion. Keep your cool, make meaningful connections, and have some fun by taking these rules from the experts to heart.

Court the Mutineers

Call the troublesome guy or perhaps it’s a girl beforehand, says Dr Roger Frame, a family-conflict expert. Try this: “Uncle Piet (insert your uncle’s name), I know we don’t often see eye to eye. How can we keep the peace for Dad?”

Even if the talk turns hostile now, it’ll mean a smoother event later.

Arrive on Time

Try and spend quality time with your host’s, but arrive with a reason to slip out early. No need to elaborate, “The kids need some sleep” is a perfectly reasonable excuse. Then be nice with- “Need a hand with the food?”

Build in Buffers

Find time to escape the madness and keep yourself sane, bonding with the kids is always good by playing a game or enlisting the help of your brother in-law to tighten Ouma’s dodgy tap.

Cut, Run and Recover

After you leave its okay to vent, but don’t dwell, why? “It’s counterproductive and will serve only to feed stress, “says Frame. Plan an activity such as a walk, putt putt, a movie- ahead of time to help you, your partner and your kids unwind.

– Alice Paulse