Encourage reflection and peace
After lighting the menorah, it’s customary for a family to spend quiet time sharing each other’s company by candlelight. This time may be spent singing or spent quietly reflecting. It’s not a time for work or distractions. Quiet time spent as a family is something you can share with friends and family as a suggestion to calm the hectic pace of the holiday season. It’s a tradition unique to Hanukkah and one that can be embraced year-round. Ask your kids to quietly reflect on the blessings of the year. Take time to share your reflections later in the evenings.
Teach your kids to give
Whether you share gelt with your children in the form of real money or chocolate coins, use this tradition as a time to talk about the spirit of giving. Help your kids choose toys, books and clothes to donate to charity. Take your children shopping to find a gift for a local toy drive. Encourage your children to spend a portion of their allowances or holiday money on charities of their choice. If your family exchanges Hanukkah gifts, teach your children to appreciate the act of giving as much as the joy of getting a gift.
As you prepare traditional Hanukkah foods, get your children involved in the preparations. If your children don’t usually cook, this is a perfect opportunity to acquaint them with the kitchen. Just be especially cautious with young children around hot oil. When you spend time together cooking, make sure everyone in the family totally unplugs. Put phones away, turn off the TV and limit media to festive music. Take this time to learn how to work together as a team, preparing delicious traditional Hanukkah treats.
Discuss your heritage
Hanukkah is the perfect time to share stories of loved ones who are elderly or who have passed. When you share tales of your older relatives, focus on good times such as previous Hanukkah celebrations. Tell the story of a particular memory or share stories of your loved ones' faith and dedication. Kids sometimes lose sight of the fact that parents were once children. Share stories of your own childhood as you guide your kids through traditions. What do you do the same? What do you do differently?
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