Kids and Yom Kippur


Siddur (Photo credit: Tmuna Fish)

Yom Kippur is coming up. Physically, it’s a hard day. As the fast stretches on, what should you do with the kids on Yom Kippur?

The faithful video player, so useful in minor fasts, is useless on this day. So are arts and crafts, coloring, and playdough, some things that always bring a smile and some precious industrious buzz as they get to work on other fast days. I freely admit that I am a terrible faster, and with a nursing babe, it is even more difficult to make it through while caring for the kids. And there is no babysitting in the shul here. Of course, my dh is wonderful at co-parenting them, including on Yom Kippur! This is extremely important work, but it’s a tough day for both of us.

So what to do with the kids?

  • daven a little with them, on their level (and let them see you davening on yours at least some!)
  • puzzles
  • books they can read (or “read”) – go to the library and get some new ones (We love books from the I spy series lately – it’s good for lots of quiet time around here!)
  • chapter books you can read to them while you all relax (hey, it could happen!)
  • new (or new-to-you) toy, preferably one they can play with on their own
  • pack a bag with a few snacks for each kid, and dole out as appropriate (nuts, cereal, candy…)
  • sit outside (if it’s cool–if you get hot, it makes fasting harder)

Be sure to pack a lunch or prepare food for the little ones. Some people make a cholent if it’s a favorite, but I think that smell in the house makes it harder for those not eating. The more independent the kids can be in eating, the better for the fasters in the house. Be sure to include a napkin and any utensils they need, and you can supervise from the couch if needed. And don’t worry about cleaning up just yet – it can wait until the end of the fast. Here are some ideas for their meals:

  • Bagels and cream cheese
  • pasta and cheese
  • deli sandwiches
  • peanut butter sandwiches (or whatever else works for you)
  • baggies of cut fruit/veggies
  • string cheese
  • yogurt
  • a special treat (my kids are getting a fun-size candy bar)
  • juice box or bottle of water (we like reusable bottles)
  • chicken nuggets or “chicken” nuggets

What do you do with your kid(s)? Any other ideas to add?

About Amital

A die-hard listmaker and observant Jewish mommy of 5, managing the challenges of life bit by bit with the help of a Shalom Bayit book and lists. And chocolate, of course. Lots of chocolate.

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