With Purim now behind us it is hard to believe Pesach is less than four weeks away. For many people, this is a worrisome and stressful time of year. While one might love spending time with family and enjoy the holiday together, it can also be a time where the stress gets to us. Often this can lead to one dreading the process leading up to the holiday.
So how can we work on having a stress free Pesach preparation experience? And how can we maximize on creating positive moments where we focus on family dynamics?
Preparation and planning can go a long way! Perhaps, we can take a few moments and sit with our families now, long before the holiday, and talk about the essence of Pesach. Cleaning and preparing for the Yom Tov is indeed a mitzvah and provides an incredible opportunity of having the entire family involved. Pesach preparation should be a pleasant time of year where we build relationships with our children, build them up, and model positive behaviors.
When we sit down as a family to start preparing for Yom Tov, we should empower one another. Every person in the family has strengths which can be helpful in different ways. Parents can give children opportunities to use their strengths while they help out and create room for positive feedback and reinforcement. Every member of the family should have a responsibility and feel important.
Another great way to avoid the stress of Pesach planning is to set practical and reachable goals. Setting goals is a wonderful way to stay calm when life gets chaotic. Setting goals helps us to organize the tasks better so that everyone in the family can be involved and have fun with one another. Much more effective than being rushed and hectic the last few days before Pesach. When families work together and support one another they can accomplish so much more in regard to getting ready for Pesach as well as in establishing close relationships.
Below are some practical tip that will help families prepare for Pesach:
1) Create a check list of all the tasks that need to get done
2) Make the experience fun- have contests such as beat the clock
3) Be positive and set realistic expectations
4) Have family check in’s and rewards for family participation
5) Recognize the efforts of each member of the family
6) Take breaks and do things the children enjoy
7) Try to simplify your Yom Tov menu
8) Show appreciation for one another
9) and 10) because it is so important: Practice self-care
It is crucial for us not to forget about the spiritual importance of this time of year. It is a mitzvah to clean the house and to find the chametz, not just so the house sparkles and the dust is removed. And most importantly not at the risk of belittling a child, sibling, parent, or friend. The sedarim and Pesach in general are a time where children are the focus. We must be sure we are giving over fun memories, encouragement, and positive experiences to our children and nothing else. This mindset and planning now will prepare us for a meaningful time of year, where families can work together and bond with one another.