I took a break from the recent topic of “kids misbehaving at school …” in order to address a more pressing topic: Pesach Preparations. We will return to it right after Yomtov.
Here is a social story I wrote today with one of my students that might be useful to some of our children and students.
How To Get The Right Kind of Attention on Pesach
My name is Shlomo. I am 9 years old. This year Pesach, my family is going to a Pesach Program. That means that we’re gonna stay in a hotel and eat meals in a large dining hall together with lots of families.
When we’re in a large place like that, I might be tempted to act silly to get attention because it feels like nobody sees me. Maybe I want attention from the people at the next table. Maybe I want attention from the Rabbi of the program. Maybe I want attention from some of the kids my age. Maybe I want attention from the older boys. Maybe I want attention from my father’s friends. Maybe I want attention from my mother’s friends.
What can I do when I want attention? There are red and green behaviors for attention.
Reds and Greens
- Singing on top of my lungs vs. Singing nicely
- Talking constantly vs. Thinking a lot
- Eating silly vs. Eating grown up
- Grabbing food vs. Asking for food nicely
- Pushing for food vs. Waiting my turn to get food
- Answering when no one is really talking to me vs. Only answering when someone is talking directly to me
- Interrupting vs. Waiting patiently
- Asking silly questions vs. Thinking silly questions in my head
- Making fun of my siblings in public vs. Respecting my siblings in public
- Negative attention-seeking vs. “Mommy, can we do something together because I want your attention?”
- Telling stories and Divrei Torah to the Rabbi vs. Telling stories and Divrei Torah to my parents
- Being dramatic and the Not Real Me at the night shows vs.Being the Real Me at the night shows
In this program, there will be day camp every day. I will try to get along with the counselors and the kids so that I have a good time in the program and so that I make lots of friends. I’m a fun and awesome kid when I act like myself. That’s the Real Me. Kids want to be friends with the Real Me. When I act silly, it’s NOT the Real Me. Kids don’t like being friends with the Not Real Me.
There will be shul every day. I will try to go with Daddy on time so that I feel and act like the mature young man that I am.
There will be a lot of people there. Does everybody have to get to know me? No. Most likely, only my family friends will get to know me. That is ok. When we’re in a large program, it is not expected to get to know everyone. It’s actually strange if someone does serious red behavior and everyone is talking about them. I don’t want it to be me.
I will try to remember that the Real Me is fun, awesome, respectable and lovable. I look forward to being the Real Me all Pesach so that I can enjoy the program and my family can enjoy the Real Me.
Tips for Parents:
Throughout the holiday, the parents should be making an effort to spend Special Mommy/Daddy Time with each child individually, even for only15 minutes several times throughout the week. This will likely reduce the need for negative attention.
Additionally, keep praising the children throughout the week for all their green behaviors, and for not doing any negative attention-seeking behaviors. Praise is positive attention which we want to give generously!
Have a lovely and joyous Yomtov!