5 Ways To Get Your Children To Love The High Holidays

21 Sep 2016

The Jewish Holidays are right around the corner. In just 2 weeks it is Rosh Hashana. Although we are all busy cooking, and cleaning, we don’t want to forget our kids. We want to make sure that they look forward to the holidays themselves.

Here are 5 ways we can do just that:

1. Don’t complain:

The Jewish holidays are pretty intense and so are the preparations for it. Cooking, hosting family, building the sukkah and adjusting our work schedules can be tough. Try not to let it get you down. Try to talk about it with excitement instead of fear.

Instead of: “I can’t believe I have to spend time with Aunt Millie again!”

Try: “I am so glad that your cousins are coming to visit! Cousins are the best!

Instead of: “There is so much to do! I don’t know how I am going to manage!

Try: “There is so much to do! We manage every year and we will do it again this year!”

2. Get kids involved:

Children love to be a part of the preparations for the holiday. It makes them feel important and builds responsibility. Ask your kids what they learned about the holiday and what they would like to prepare:

“I am so glad you learned all about dipping the apple in the honey. We are going to need someone to be responsible for putting the honey bears and apples on the table. Can you be in charge of that?”

For older kids we definitely want and need their help. They are more willing to give it, if we ask for their input.

“We have 20 people for our Sukkah meal. Do you remember last year what we made that everyone liked? Is there anything that you would like to make?”

3. It’s all about the food:

With all this talk about health and diets, we are all concerned about what goes into our mouths. However, you might just want to indulge yourself for the holidays. There is nothing like Jewish food.

Most of people’s positive holiday memories revolve around food, “Remember Bubbie’s amazing Rugelach?, “ I just love my Mom’s Tzimmes!” Have the grandparents bring over their signature recipes.

It is even better if they cook the dishes they remember their own parents and grandparents made. Then every generation at the table will enjoy. There is something nostalgic about food. It often elicits trips down memory lane, evoking more stories about parents and grandparents long gone. Most children love hearing about when their parents and grandparents were young kids. (Especially, how they lived without cell phones!)

You might also want to start creating your own food traditions for your own kids.

4. Listen to your kids:

Children might have some negative feelings about the upcoming holidays:

“You are so busy you have no time for me!”

“I hate sitting in synagogue for so long! It’s boring!”

Take their complaints seriously:

“You need some more time with me? Let’s figure out a way to make that happen! Would you mind helping me in the kitchen, that way we can get stuff done and spend time together!”

“Let’s figure out something that you can do to make synagogue less tedious for you. Can you bring an appropriate book with you, for when it feels like its too much?”

You can always ask, “What do you think would work best for you?”

5. Prayer:

The High Holidays, very much revolve around prayer and synagogue. It is a time to pray for your family and their well-being. You can also pray that they find meaning, love and excitement in their Judaism.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.