Sep 10, 2015

Gaby Demby: Shabbat At Home (Kid-spiration)

by Gabriela Demby

From week to week, as Shabbos rolls around, it’s easy to get caught up in the planning and preparing. The to-do-list in your mind keeps you awake on Tuesday and Wednesday night, while the shopping bill kept you awake all of Thursday night. We know the drill.

The focus of Shabbat is family. The 25 hours where we unplug and disconnect affords us valuable time to spend with our loved ones. So what about the hours leading up to Shabbat? Are they for stressing and rushing? Realistically, these feelings can be part of the Shabbat prep, but they don’t have to be the focus of it.

Instead, concentrate on the excitement that Shabbat brings to your household.

Show your kids how fun Shabbat can be, instead of how stressed out you get as you slave over the stove the whole week. While during Shabbat, you can involve your children so that they feel part of all the fuss.

Here are 10 handy tips to help give your little ones some kid-spiration:

  1. At the dinner table each night, countdown how many sleeps until it’s Shabbat.
  2. Treat your children to clothes that are more special than their weekday clothing, so that they are excited to wear their “Shabbat clothes”.
  3. Take your kids with you when you go grocery shopping for Shabbat. Let them help you decide on what to buy, and while you’re there, let them choose a Shabbat treat from the treat isle.
  4. Keep certain foods and drinks for Shabbat only, such as fizzy drinks, cereals or sweets. This will help get them super excited about Shabbat! This will also help win those arguments during the week over eating Shabbat-only treats.
  5. Get your children to make handmade name cards for your Shabbat guests. This will keep them busy while you’re making your Shabbat meals.
  6. Give your kids special tasks, such as setting the table, folding the napkins and putting the flowers into the vase. They can also help you in the kitchen!
  7. Involve your children during the Shabbat rituals. Mothers can hold their daughter's hand as she lights her Shabbat candles. Fathers can let their little ones help pour the kiddush wine, or cut the challah.
  8. Play board games and cards with your kids. During the week we barely get the time to enjoy moments like these, so make the most of it!
  9. Give each child a special task during the meal. One can be the coat collector and collect the guests coats when they arrive, another can hold out the towel for everyone when they wash their hands, one child can be the dessert server while another can take drink orders from the guests. The more involved and special the children feel, the more they will want to take part in the Shabbat festivities.
  10. Use this uninterrupted time to create family traditions, such as an extra bedtime story while you cuddle your little one to sleep, or a cup of hot-chocolate in bed on a Shabbat morning. These are the memories your children will cherish forever.

By involving the kids, and creating an environment of excitement and anticipation for Shabbat, your children will grow up with an appreciation for family and for the gift of Shabbat.

Gabriela Demby

Gabriela has never met a cup of tea she didn’t like. This writer is a novelist in the making, and has her sights set on bringing back a true appreciate for the written word. Gabriela is also a make-up artist and has a burning passion for reading, writing and travelling. Gabriela loves all things colourful, and draws a lot of inspiration from the people she surrounds herself with. Her over-active imagination combined with her background in creative brand communications has lead her to a career in creative writing and conceptual thinking.

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