How to Get Your Family Involved in Passover Preparations

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Women often shoulder the entire burden of Pesach preparations. Let’s hear from community members how they delegate tasks to family members to lighten their enormous load. Even when the kids are too young to help, it’s important to start teaching them the skills they can acquire to help Mom when they get bigger. For example, I recruit my nine-year-old daughter to go through all the jacket pockets in the coat closet looking for any hametz. I hope this article will be helpful to us all! Let’s jump right in and see what some of our clever community members do to get everyone involved in Pesach preparations.  

 

 

Esther C. Cohen 

 

My friend’s mom shared the following trick. She promises her kids one dollar for every hametz item they find. The kids end up really searching and actually finding stuff! Hopefully it doesn’t cause Mom to break the bank! How about paying in quarters?! 

 

Even young kids can help. From three years old, they can spray and wipe a drawer. And the bonus for Mom is that it keeps them busy for a long time with that spray bottle and rag (don’t even splurge on paper towels – they’ll use a million of them). Some other helpful tips: Take the highchair outside for a good cleaning – use a garden hose!  Wait for a nice day to tackle the car together. Even if it’s earlier than you would have liked – you’ll be happy if one thing is checked off the list and everyone will be psyched to be outside. We’ve even invited friends over to help clean the car – they really love it! They feel so big and responsible.  

 

Wait for the kids to be out of the house to boil the counters – it’s not worth doing that with them around. And the best tip – wear rainboots when sloshing around boiling water! 

 

Devora Piller 

I don’t have my kids pitch in for the actual cleaning. I need to be alone to be able to focus on my cleaning. But, one year, I gave my oldest son the task of looking through his own nightstand and deciding what he wanted to keep and what was trash and also, of course, looking for hametz. He loved it! Afterwards, he set up things on his nightstand that he found and my other sons saw it and got excited to do so, as well. So that’s what they do each year.  

 

My kids help in the kitchen when I’m cooking. They love peeling potatoes. They also pitch in with juicing lemons and oranges, and making grapefruit juice. They also choose cake mixes and make those for the holiday. For me,  letting go of control was hard at first. But when I did, I found that I benefited from the kids’ help, and they love helping out, too. 

 

Sarah H. Franco 

 

Here are tips for how to get your adult children involved. 

Assign everyone to prepare different dishes for the holiday. This takes a little planning to decide who makes what, but it pays off in the end because everyone helps out, instead of all of the responsibilities falling on the host. 

 

Next – split responsibilities: 

Someone supplies paper goods, someone supplies snacks, another baked goods. Someone buys fruit. Split the details because they add up, too. 

Another option is that each person picks an activity or meal they are in charge of. 

 

My mother and my sisters try to do that. We’ve been doing it since our late 20’s we’re all in our 30’s now. Some of my friends go to one family member’s house and together they cook ahead of time.  

 

We all go to my mother for Pesach. For years I used to clean the kitchen with my cleaning lady, although I no longer do that.  

 

But, if everyone is going to one family member’s, particularly their parents’ house, you can and should take over a job, like cleaning some areas of the house. After Purim my mother makes the kids look for hametz, in the playroom and in their rooms, before the cleaning lady cleans. Then the day before Pesach she makes the kids do a hametz check again.  

 

Obviously, this is for chinuch purposes, and is a way to keep the kids out of our hair and provides a way for them to be connected to Pesach, to be mindful that Pesach is coming, and Don’t Make a Mess! 

 

Jennifer Mizrahi 

 

My kids are basically my little assistants when it comes to Passover prep. I assign them tasks such as vacuuming the couch and checking rice. They also empty things out of my cabinets, spray and wipe down surfaces, and put in the Pesach groceries. I also let them wipe down my chairs and other simple tasks like that. Their favorite thing is vacuuming my car – they find it to be a lot of fun! And, for me it’s so helpful 

 

 

Batsheva H. 

 

My cousins who have a ton of kids came up with a really clever idea. They motivate the kids with a trip, so if they clean for Pesach really well and fast, they get to go away. This is great because it helps twofold – it gets the house clean and then, because they leave on a trip, the house stays clean! 

 

 

Ellen Kamaras 

 

Incentivize/reward your kids to clean their rooms for Pesach. Give them a fabric tote bag to fill up. Tell them to look for old toys to donate or throw out broken toys while searching for hametz.  

 

Sometimes, the best help is just getting the kids out of your way so you can focus on cleaning. Give them supplies and have your children draw pictures of the plagues or other pictures of the Pesach story for the seder night. Another cute activity is making personalized place cards for the guests at the seder. My daughter loved that “task.” 

 

Get kids involved in choosing Pesach treats and planning the menu.  

 

Put older kids in charge of planning a Hol Hamoed day trip: give them skin in the game and let them call cousins or whoever you plan to go with and brainstorm. 

 

 

Faye Sued 

 

“Guilt works!” 

(spoken like a true Jewish grandma) 

 

 

 

Wow! These are all terrific ideas and they’re really putting me into the spirit of preparing for the holiday. Just a few closing thoughts – I don’t want my children growing up feeling completely unprepared to clean their homes. I can think of no better way to teach them than to give them first-hand experience. Also, it would be great to have some extra helping hands. I’m going to do my best to involve the kids this year in preparation for the holiday. I hope this article inspired you to do the same. Getting hired help is good but it does not provide chinuch. As Jewish mothers it is our responsibility to pass on the tradition of cleaning for such an important holiday. If the children whine and moan that they don’t want to clean, I suggest teaching them this phrase in Hebrew “yesh li koach” – I have strength. We can do hard things. We should do hard things most of the time. It’s good for us. And yes, cleaning for Pesach and searching and eliminating hametz from our lives this time of year is good for us. So let’s put on some gloves and get it done! 

 

Until next time,  

Frieda Schweky 

 

 

Frieda is an event and portrait photographer. Check Frieda out on Instagram @ friedaschwekyphoto. For photography inquiries or article topic suggestions email her at friedaschweky@gmail.com.