Purim is about a lot of things. It is about the story of Esther. It’s about celebrating the evil decree that never took place. We celebrate by listening to the Purim story, by giving food to our friends and family, by holding a great feast and by giving charity. Along with that, we have little children underfoot, dressed up to the nines, filling their bellies with sugar. Here’s our survival guide:
- Know your kid. Some kids LOVE Purim. My six year-old plans his costume for 364 days. It is a constant topic of discussion in our home. Other kids do not want to get dressed up, no matter how awesome the costume is, no matter how much you’ve hyped it up – there are kids that simply do not enjoy it. Embrace them.
- Go with the flow. That kid that does love Purim? She changes her mind. Your daughter may have wanted to be a princess last week but things change. In the week before Purim, be prepared to move from princess to cowgirl to witch and back to princess. Just take a deep breath and remember soon she’ll be a teenager.
- Get creative. If you take your children to hear the Megilla, make sure you bring entertainment. While most communities are very sensitive to young children, a standard reading still takes close to 40 minutes. For younger kids, bring a favorite book or toy, coloring pages and some snacks. Make sure to pack a gragger (noisemaker) and their own megilla.
- Treasure box. If you see that there is too much candy coming into your house, give each of your kids a bag (more awesome if you call it a treasure box) and let them pick their favorites. Get rid of the rest.
- Schedule Meals. Purim is a great day, but for kids who need schedule and routine (and their parents!) this day ain’t it. The day can begin with Megilla reading, followed by a morning of delivering Mishloach Manot. Often, families don’t sit down to eat until later afternoon. With gift baskets flowing in, most kids spend the day eating sugar. Stock your fridge with yogurts, freshly-cut fruits and vegetables. Have granola bars and pretzels on hand. Make sure your kids eat well (at least in between the sugary snacks) will keep their meltdown at bay.
- Plan a quiet evening. Post-Purim should be quiet time. Kids are overtired and over stimulated (and coming off of their sugar high). Leave the dishes in the sink and just relax with your kids before bedtime. I personally love an episode of The Muppet Show – it never fails to delight, a book or two by Mo Willems or the Star Wars version of Guess Who.