Kids and Yom Kippur

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Unlike adults, children have different ways of cooperating at the most important parts in every aspect of life. For instance, children are not going to fast during the holiday unlike their parents because they are not mature enough to handle the maturity to fast! If you are Jewish and have a child that you have having issues handling during this holiday, here are 10 tips to make your Yom Kippur run smoothly with your little ones:

  1. Stock up on books. Create a Yom Kippur library by collecting books from all over your house or trade with neighbors! Tell your children that they can read all these books as long as they return them to the basket.
  2. Have you made your crock pot chulent or stew yet? Just because you’re not eating doesn't mean they are not. A warm meal goes a long way to avoid kvetchy toddlers.
  3. Put loads of snacks in a basket for the taking. Write “Yom Kippur Snacks, Please Take One” on an index card. Attach it to the front of the basket. No one wants to touch or see food during a fast. Do the same thing in the refrigerator by designating one of the drawers and supplying with a healthy snack (IE: apples, cut up celery, and peppers.)
  4. Make sure you are loaded up with games for the kids and that the playroom is clean. Now’s the day to make room – the more they will play. Deal with the aftermath once the fast is over and you are more energized.
  5. Create a prayer packet with dollar store or traded items from your neighbor. Pass out to your children right before you are about to pray. This will give you some time to pray in peace.
  6. Of course, they all know this, but it’s important to sit your children down and let them know that tomorrow is a fast day and one of the most important days of the year. Be honest with them that you will be tired and hungry and that you need their help. They must try to behave and be kind to one another.
  7. Play dates are great in the late afternoon; make sure to schedule them so there are no surprises at your door.
  8. Hired help is ideal, but not always feasible. A friend will be more than happy to watch your kids for an hour if you reciprocate. Then you both can rest.
  9. Start each child’s day with a cup of jelly beans or chocolate chips. Let them know that anytime they misbehave a treat will leave the cup. At the end of the day they can eat whatever is left of their nosh prize. This will hopefully guarantee that you have listening helpers throughout the day.
  10. Remember that today is the holiest day of the year, try to stay focused and renew your connection with Hashem (God) even it means that the playroom is messy and your kids stay in their pajamas all day!

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