I love holidays. I can’t even begin to explain how much, but I especially love holidays that involve getting together with friends and family. If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile or following me on Instagram, you know we are an interfaith family. I’m Catholic. My husband is Jewish. We want to expose Sweet Baby J to as much of both as humanly possible. That meant we were going to host a Passover Seder this year. We invited some neighbors and other local friends in order to help build a community and of course show off our skills at building a dinner party. Can you do that with a 13-month-old? You can! I am very excited about it. Also, I’m excited to stretch our culinary pursuits to make a kid friendly yet elevated meal.
The food isn’t the only important part of the meal, though. You want the entire experience to be perfect yet relaxed. I mean there are kids involved, right? They’re not exactly ready for stuffy dinners.
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1. Buy a kid-friendly Haggadah
This year we decided to go with Sammy Spider’s First Haggadah. I love Sammy Spider. He’s a really great way to explain the Jewish holidays to your kids. We have a few of them in the series on Sweet Baby J’s Amazon Fire, and he loves it. Remember though ladies and gentlemen be sure to order your Haggadah early. Sammy Spider is temporarily out of stock with no known ship date.
2. Set a reasonable time for dinner
We decided to have our Seder on Saturday evening instead of Friday night this year. We wanted to be able to invite people from the community, and we didn’t want cranky pants for a kiddo. The truth is we start getting Sweet Baby J ready for bed around 7:30. This means you have to have a meal that can end by then. Of course, we invite our guests to continue hanging out around the house enjoying their wine and anything else, but we have to know our child’s limit. He will be exhausted at a reasonable hour.
3. Don’t fight over food
You should serve at least 2 dishes that you know your child will love and don’t fight about what they eat. You don’t want to have a power struggle with your kid in front of friends or family. You want everyone to have a lovely time. This means that you can decide that it’s not that important what your child eats so long as they eat something for one meal. They’ll be pleased to have a little control in their diets, and you’ll be happy to not have to fight.
4. Don’t try to keep them at the table once they’re restless
This goes back to the point above. You want everyone to have a lovely time including your children. They’ll get used to having dinner parties eventually but for now their little bodies can only sit still for so long. I’m a big fan of letting them run free so you can socialize after a certain point. This year I’m setting up a picnic area for the kids and letting them do whatever they like. I don’t have to be the “no man” all the time.
5. Allow a treat
This year I plan to serve sparkling grape juice. I believe it allows them to feel a little bit older than they are for a moment and instills a bit of trust. You’re trusting them with something that bubbles and could stain your carpet. That’s real!
Have you hosted a dinner party since having children? How did it go? What were your tricks?
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