12 Tips to Get Your Kids to Help Prepare for Passover
How to gain the cooperation of your family without yelling.
Passover is right around the corner and we're wondering how are we going to get everything done. It can feel overwhelming.
We don't have to do it all ourselves. We can encourage our kids and spouses to help out.
Here are my top 12 tips to gaining cooperation from your family this Passover:
1. Don't take it personally. Your kids are not ignoring your pleas to help because they don't care about you or how hard you work. They just really don't like to clean.
2. Let your kids complain about all the work that they have to do and don't want to do. They don't have to like it, they just need to do it.
3. Have your pat phrases handy when your kids start to whine. For example, "In this family we all work together." "Sometimes you do more and sometimes Sara does more, that's how it works in families."
4. Be kind. Always empathize. Not too many people like to clean and that, of course, includes kids. You can say, "Looks like you really aren't in the mood for sweeping. You are wishing that this broom would work by itself..."
5. Make a list of all the jobs that you need to get done and ask your kids to let you know what they would like to do and when they will be available to complete them. Kids don't want to be at your beck and call all day.
6. Make it fun. For younger kids, Beat the Clock, pretending to be vacuum cleaners or garbage men, can do the trick. For older kids, putting on some music or listening to the ball game can help.
7. Don't accuse. Avoid telling your kids they are irresponsible and lazy. It only reinforces a negative image of themselves. "If my parents think I am lazy and irresponsible, why should I even try to help out?"
8. Be positive. Don’t say, “We are never going to be ready for Passover!” Be upbeat: “I know we are going to get everything that needs to get done, done. Let’s take it one step at a time.”
9. Have mini meetings. On the mornings leading up to Passover, let everyone know what needs to be done and what there responsibilities will be. Even better, write it down.
10. Respect your child's time. Always ask, "I will need help shlepping chairs this afternoon, will that fit into your schedule?", "We are going to clean out the drawers in the kitchen this afternoon, how does that work for you?"
11. Acknowledge your family's contributions. "I appreciate all your help with the cooking.", Reinforce the ethic of teamwork, "This family really knows how to work together. We got this whole garage cleaned up!"
12. Be thankful for your family. Not only do you want to acknowledge your family's contributions as you are getting ready for Passover, at the Seder take a minute to thank everyone and appreciate every ones help. "I am so looking forward to this Seder and the rest of Yom Tov. We all worked hard to get ready for Yom Tov and it shows. Daddy and I appreciate all your efforts."
And lastly, spring cleaning is not a Torah obligation. Dust is not chametz. Stay focused on what you really must do to clean your house for Passover, and leave the rest of the cleaning for another, more opportune time.