By Itta Surie Wirtzberger
Lubicom Marketing Staff on Kosher.com
Let’s evaluate the facts:
- The kids are home for the next little while.
- Pesach is rapidly approaching.
While we can’t change the facts, we can change our attitude. Pesach has to happen, so make Pesach cleaning fun and focus on the memories you’re creating. When the kids are all grown and tell of the quarantine tales, let it be with laughter and smiles.
Below are some ideas for your convenience. Try some, try all, just keep the spirit up!
What needs to be cleaned for Pesach? Ask your rabbi what needs to be cleaned in times like this. Many have said only to clean the basics and put the spring cleaning/chumras aside. Again, ask for your personalized psak based on your circumstances, but know that you probably don’t have to go crazy this year.
Knowing what’s a must and what’s a plus will help prioritize the process and hopefully lead to a less stressful, more calm atmosphere so that you can welcome Pesach with your sanity intact!
Lists are Lifesavers. Set the kids up with some Legos or Magna Tiles, prepare a nice cup o’ joe (sneak some of the leftover Purim chocolate stash), and sit down in a quiet corner. Taking a new notebook, or one from previous years, write down all that’s on your mind as lists, neatly categorized. This will clear your mind and help you feel a bit more in control.
Some list categories to get you started:
- Activities for the kids
- Schoolwork schedules
- Rooms/zones to clean for Pesach
- Dinner and lunch menus (starring ingredients from the pantry plus all the chametz you want to use up)
- Pesach menus
- Pesach grocery shopping
- Other Pesach shopping (cookware, clothing, and Judaica)
Give those closets a facelift. Life always gets in the way, but with your teens home, the time to organize the closet will never be more perfect. Put on a timer, assign them each a closet, and get organizing.
Have them start by emptying the shelves. Wash them down with some soft cleaning agent and water, making them sparkle again. Change the shelf paper for a fresh look.
Next, onto the sorting. Each category gets a separate pile: One pile for those clothing/items you can’t part with and use often. Those go back neatly folded and sorted in order of color/size/use.
Another pile for the maybes. That shirt you like, but don’t love. The toys the kids use, sometimes. Those get put back as well but in less accessible spots for when the urge/nostalgia hits.
Then comes the goodbye pile. The clothing that hasn’t been worn in the past year, toys your kids look at with disdain or have outgrown. Say goodbye and donate them. They won’t clutter your closet and will make someone else smile, guaranteed.
Assign a closet per child and have them work it through. Pair them up or let work solo, whichever they prefer. Set the timer for an extra competitive punch. Or better yet, judge the closets, rating them for cleanliness, organization, and speed.
Create a Pesach Cleaning Crew. Have your family form an exclusive Pesach cleaning crew. Using old shirts or white t-shirts, let the kids decorate them with Sharpies or markers with your ‘company name’ and a fun logo.
Now for the cleaning. Some ideas to consider:
Fill buckets with water and get the rags out. Have them wash the walls and outer areas of the cabinets, closets, or doors that are not dirty enough to require soft scrub.
Fill a bath with water and ‘bathe’ the mentchies, legos, Magna tiles, clicks, etc. Once their bath is complete, shake and wipe down each piece. Not halachicly obligatory, but a great way to keep the kids entertained.
Sort the bookshelf by color, size, or alphabetize it — a great way to keep the tweens entertained and get some educational exercise as well.
Create a competition! Set a timer and a designated area and have them get to work. Whoever can cover the most ground before the timer beeps is the winner. Have everyone participate in a chametz scavenger hunt.
Make Pesach Fun Again. Your Pesach table can still be bedecked with the finest of your kid’s crafts. There are lots of free resources on Kosher.com for your use. Let your kids choose from any below!
- Door Hangers
- Activity Sheets
- Seder Placemats
- Seder Bingo Game
Schedule It. Routine is vital for little ones (and adults). Create a daily schedule of expected chores, Pesach cleaning, and learning/play. Write it out on an oak tag or sheet of paper. If you like, draw pictures by hand or create images on the computer. Have the kids color the schedule and leave it where everyone can see it. Following it will give your day structure and help the “I’m bored” mantra.
Shop Smart — From Home. Even if most nonessential stores have closed, almost everything can be purchased virtually, and now is the time to purchase to ensure your deliveries arrive before Pesach. Ask your local supermarket about shopping online, through an app, or about placing your order over the phone. Do the same with the butcher. Many hardware stores are offering delivery as well. Remember to include all your Pesach essentials.
- Basic kitchen utensils
- Fridge / freezer liners
- Countertop liners
- Sink inserts
- Pots and baking pans
- Measuring utensils
- Lettuce light (for the maror)
Clothing and shoe shopping will have to be done virtually, too. Many stores have gone online and will be glad to answer questions regarding sizing and the like.
Order Judaica items from your favorite local shop; most are delivering. Include new books and games for the kids to play with on Pesach.
Include items for the Seders as well, if you need them, such as the kos shel Eliyahu, Seder plate, a pillow set for reclining, etc.
Remember that crumbs are not chametz!
You can find more about Passover preparation and recipes during the coronavirus at Kosher.com.