Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

18 Tammuz 5764 - July 7, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Vacation Time
by Yehudis Meir

It's July now, and after a few weeks of school-sponsored day camp, the `biggie' will be upon us. Vacation. Last year I took the easy way out and had a baby, leaving the kids in my husband's care during bein hazemanim while I enjoyed a five star vacation in Beit Hachlama. This year, I decided to plan ahead to try to make this time as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible for everyone.

* Don't rush the mornings. Savor the pleasure of not having to beat the van or bus while you're still brushing hair and putting together sandwiches. The kids don't need to be hustled into their clothing by 7:30 if they'd rather not. And allow yourself the time and nachas to sit down and daven with your children, perhaps grouping them for collective davening for the small ones while the bigger ones are davening on their own. Perhaps you might want to set a specific time each day to begin, to give some structure to the day, and take the phone off the hook.

* Before vacation descends, make the rounds of stationery, kindergarten supply and 2 shekel stores in your area. Pick up any interesting activity books, stickers, projects, tapes that strike your fancy. There are many things to work with in all price ranges. The owner of the store may be able to advise you and help you chose age-appropriate activities as well as offer innovative ideas for family projects.

This relatively small investment is well worth it. In the morning, after the basics of dressing, davening, breakfast and cleanup, sit the kids down to a surprise project from your secret bag. You'll feel calm knowing you have something planned and they will be thrilled to cooperate.

[One project/outing can be to your nearest industrial center, perhaps a printing place, where you can pick up interesting rejects and defects.]

After about an hour of activity (you've joined them at it) plus cleanup, they'll be happy for unstructured play with their toys and each other.

* Let the children help you plan and prepare lunch. You may want to plan a week's menu in advance, with them, and post it up. [How about pita-falafel from scratch!] They can do some of the shopping. And washing up -- in hot weather -- can also be an enjoyable activity.

* It's a good idea to institute nap time, for you especially, at least for half an hour if not more. Close the shutters with enough light for reading. Or put on a story tape.

* Don't expect the degree of cleanliness you enjoy when they are at school. Just keep the mess to a reasonable level.

* Plan simple outings for the afternoon when it begins to cool off. This can be a local park, a picnic supper in a grassy area, a one-fare long bus ride. Invite little neighbor friends for a swimming pool or sprinkler.

* Go on a bigger outing once a week. You can visit relatives in another town, go to a park with boating, the zoo, beach/swimming pool, or coordinate with some factory, bakery etc. for a free guided tour. They will usually be happy to accommodate groups of ten and up.

* Try to keep the little ones on a schedule that includes normal bedtime. You may decide to send these small ones to kiddie day camps run by teenagers for cheap. Your daughters may want to run one themselves, but be prepared and forewarned for whatever it entails. Compare notes with those who have run them in previous years.

* Incorporate story time or drama time, letting pairs or threes of children (perhaps with neighbors and friends) prepare stories or enact them with home- made costumes according to a theme.

* Make preparing for Shabbos a pleasant activity. Include baking, decorating, shopping, washing floors -- which can be lots of fun if you lay down some rules and provide tips and methods.

* Make up some easy sewing projects, like a decorated pillowcase for pajamas, a mitten for baking or something else useful, and useful crafts like a decorated calendar of birthdays for the family etc.

Finally, be thankful and joyful and try to transmit as much positive energy to your children during this marvelous bonding time. Plan ahead to make the most of this advantageous season.


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