Written by Rifki Orzech
We own one Purim costume for babies, it’s a tiger, and over the years we’ve tied it into multiple themes so we could use it three times over. Purim with small children isn’t easy….. sure you could go to a family Megillah reading but you always think you’re disturbing other people and it might be labor intensive but kinder to split up and go separately. What else can you do or not do but ensure you’re still having a great Purim?
You can introduce the idea of Mishloach Manot.
All it takes is a cupcake and small crayon drawing. But make sure to explain the point well, or you’ll get to their little friend’s house and find your child’s tiger costume and car seat covered in crumbs.
Sit down and give in to the show.
You know exactly what I mean… and this time, it’s going to be worth it. If your child listens to Purim stories in the car, goes to playgroup or kindergarten, it’s time to give in and say yes to sitting on a couch while they act out a grand spectacle that will involve all manner of misunderstandings, malapropisms and twists to the Megillah story that you have never, ever heard of. Get ready for the performance and tweet @JewishInteract with the sweetest Megillah show pictures from your own couch theater.
If you want to get into the story in a more all-encompassing way, try this appy- app with a lesson. It’s about the real definition of strength and courage; which are traits you’ll need to sit through an hour of choosing wives for the king.
Choose a charity together, perhaps one that helps children; but approach some concepts with caution, as they might be a tad traumatic for young ears. You might want to go with something a little more subtle, like organizations that help kids with dyslexia learn to read. This might also be a good opportunity to talk about chesed, or tzedaka.
Try this game that says Purim is for everybody and how to make sure it stays that way.
Lower your expectations.
You might want to theme the entire day…but cardboard and itchy costumes might be a parental transgression too far. Dialling it back a notch, I know some years, parents miss Megillah completely or had a relative read it for them. Nice if you can get it! Megillah in pajamas in the middle of the night…oops wrong chag.
Some kids can manage sitting quietly throughout the Megillah reading, especially if it’s a 30-minute Megillah marathon, try it! Check if there’s a children’s Megillah service in your area for the abridged version.
Your child is high on color, sound and sugar and might be an absolute horror during the Purim seudah—pizza or a picnic in the park are calling your name. Remember: This isn’t about you. It’s about getting everything done and survival. I guess that’s a standard day really, albeit with non-standard obligations.
The story of Purim can come to life with shows, songs, costumes and digital stickers. Like many things in life, it’s not about stuffing it all in one week before Purim but knowing it’s there and trying different things every year.
Rifki Orzech is an olah, a mother of three and a content writer with five years’ experience. She is passionate about women learning Torah and has completed the Susi Bradfield Educational Leadership Programme for Jewish women at the London School of Jewish Studies.