Teaching Children about Peace in the Home (Shalom Bayit)
Ben and Lila fight over their favorite bath towel, cup and everything else. Papa Plony is so distracted by playing his banjo that he forgot to make the challah that he promised Mama. Even Gabi and Rafi argue over who gets to practice what on their small cloud. We’ve all been there. Fortunately, some howling monkeys join the chaos to help teach about compromise and taking turns.
Follow Up Questions
- Do you remember a time when you wanted something that somebody else had? What was it? How did it make you feel?
- When you want something different for breakfast than what’s on the table, what happens? What do you think could happen?
- Play this fun game! “Ours Hour” Nobody in the family or class owns anything for a whole hour. Everybody owns everything. Everything is “ours.” Wear any shoes. Play with any toy. Eat any food. Watch any video. “Ours Hour” ground rules: A responsible adult must be present. Be safe. Clean up any mess you make. Afterwards, discuss what it was like to learn that there are appropriate reasons for ownership – size, attention span, safety, etc.
- Remember how Papa Plony forgot to make the challah? A way to divide up responsibility for chores is to make a list of incomplete things for the whole family. Figure out together what needs to get done now (clean up the messy room), recognize which things can stay undone a while longer (organize your toys), and accept which things may not change for a long time, if ever.
For Parents: What’s Jewish about Peace in the Home?
There are many levels of complexity to teaching your children about compromise and problem-solving, especially as they grow older. For some detailed suggestions, check out this Guide for the Perplexed Jewish Parent.