Passover and Toddlers

Updated on March 28, 2010
J.S. asks from Morrisville, PA
10 answers

I have a 2 1/2 year old and a one year old. How strict are you Jewish mom's out there when it comes to observing kashrut for passover with your little ones? Although I am pretty traditional, I don't know if I can go an entire 8 days without giving them mac & cheese! When I really think about it in fact, 75 percent of their meals are bread related! They do eat chicken, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese etc but i need variety to last through the holiday. Any help or suggestions are much appreciated!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all your responses! I have decided to offer them "passover foods" first during meal/snack times but if they ask for something specific instead (ie mac & cheese) I'll give it to them. I will start explaining to my 2 1/2 yr old , beyond the seder, why we eat differently during this week so she gets a small understanding of the holiday. Once they are older I know I will expect more and especially once bat mitzvah age arrives they will be expected to keep kashrut with us. Thanks again for helping me think through this.

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

I grew up in a mostly Orthodox house. My father was very strict about everything and Passover was definitely a difficult holiday for us kids. I am very much less strict with my own family. I actually don't make my son adhere to Passover. He is 10.

At 2 1/2, I would give him everything to try, but wouldn't hold him to rigidly to the holiday. Of course, it would be a problem to keep the house free of chametz. I did find some recipes for a Passover-friendly mac and cheese, but I wasn't sure they sounded so good. lol

Does he like matzoh? Spread it with peanut butter or cream cheese and jam. I eat that all year round. Matzoh brie might work. There are a lot of cookbooks for Passover that could help and tons of information online as well.

This could be a chance for him to expand his food horizon too. Maybe you can try recipes in small batches, ones that include a few known favorite foods that are Passover friendly, and see if he likes the variation? Also, look at the different traditions between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews. There a many rich delicious foods in both.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I have kids with food allergies and intolerances as it is, so adding on Kosher for passover would be a BIG challenge. I plan on making dinner that are ok for all of us, but for snacks I am not going to be crazy about them keeping passover. As they get older I am sure we will do more but for 4 1/2 and 1 1/2 it is hard to explain why they can't have something they get every day. Good Luck!



answers from Chicago on

We pretty much cut out any bread, rice and noodles. We do not eat our normal cracker and cookie type snacks. I do not worry about corn sryup and things like that. If we are out for dinner, I will allow chicken nuggets, but nothing with bread or pasta. We eat a lot of fruit, eggs and tons of matza.



answers from Detroit on

It's too bad that you don't live in Michigan because Hillers has Kosher for Pesach macaroni and cheese. There are a lot of things you can do: you say your kids like chicken ... go to your whole foods and get some ground chicken (I don't worry about the meat, kosher meat is expensive) then take some of the matzo farfel and crush it up so it's fine, but not too fine, I like the panko consistency (Panko is Japanese bread crumbs); add some kosher salt, black pepper, some Simply Organic all-purpose seasoning, some garlic powder and a little Simply Organics seasoning salt to the farfel. To the ground chicken, just add a little salt and pepper along with just a few shakes of the all purpose seasoning. Take some of the ground chicken and form them into nugget sized pieces, as thin or as thick as you want (the thinner they are, the faster they cook) and coat them with the seasoned farfel. Then cook them in a frying pan in a little bit of canola oil (or olive oil it works well too) and have them dip them in kosher for pesach bbq sauce. Now would be a great time to try to get your kids to eat something like meat loaf. Email me for more recipes that are kid friendly for Pesach. They're my regular recipes that I adapt to make KfP



answers from Dallas on

I remember that when I was with my dad during passover (my parents were divorced) I always went to bed starving. He was very strict about keeping kosher for passover and there was nothing that I wanted to eat. I hated it. Now I don't even think about keeping kosher for passover in my house because I don't want my family to feel like I am starving them. I know how silly that sounds, but horrible memories sometimes make people act silly. I like what Jane says. If you wait until they are a little older and can understand more, they might actually appreciate the meaning behind it. Of course if you can find kid-friendly kosher for passover meals, that would probably be good too.



answers from Boston on

I've been trying to figure this out with my kids too (who are 5 and 2.5). I can't remember what I did as a kid. Also, my husband isn't Jewish, so he doesn't keep kosher for passover outside of the house either. I think that my plan for the week is to make kosher for passover dinners, but not adhere to a strict kashrut house for the whole week (I keep kosher all week, but I work outside of the house, so only our dinners are really family meals). I think that I'll encourage them to keep kosher for passover when they get older and can really know what it means (8 or so) and then we'll be totally kosher when they're bar/bat mitzvahed.

Some suggestions - matza pizza, lots of eggs, meatballs over baked potatoes instead of pasta, pizza fries (french fries layered with tomato sauce and cheese, instead of a crust), etc. Both of my kids actually love matza balls, so there is a lot of soup. It ends up not being the healthiest week, but I figure I've got to pick my battles, right?

Have a good holiday!



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi, I don't know what you are comfortable doing. I am the not Jewish half of an interfaith marriage, trying my best to help raise our kids to be Jewish. I have a 7 and a 4 year old and what I have decided to do over the years is to give them what they want for breakfast and lunch and make passover dinners. Normally I will make them different things for dinner (although I am trying to move in the this-is-dinner-eat-it-o-don't direction). I told them in advance that I am making one dinner only for the next 8 days. My older son will start Hebrew school in the fall and then may have more of an interest in the holidays and rules. Over time we may become more observant but for now it is too hard. Little kids are such pickey eaters!! I hope you find what works for you and your family. Happy Pasach!



answers from Philadelphia on

I keep the holiday but my husband doesn't so we decided that my son who is a few months younger than yours will keep it most of the time but if daddy is eating bread/cereal in front of him and my son really wants it, we won't deprive him. He doesn't understand yet so we won't make a big deal of it yet. My husband is also concerned about problems with constipation due to excessive matzah eating so I bought whole wheat hoping that this plus lots of dried fruits will keep my toddler's digestive system going. If this is does not work, I will allow him to eat bread products. Hope this helps! Enjoy the holiday.



answers from Los Angeles on

I think you need to allow some leniency for your kids. It's ok to try to offer them kosher for passover foods, but if they are starving, I think you should give in to make sure they aren't hungry all the time. Try to have extra snacks like fruit (especially apples) that are filling.

Who knows, maybe they will love matzah! If not, don't stress about it - just make sure they are fed and happy, even if it means bending the rules a little.


answers from Dallas on

Children are not required to fast at Yom Kippur, right? So why expect them to keep Passover? I'm pretty loose when it comes to the kids. But I was always comfortable freezing my breads and not throwing anything away. The older I get the looser I get. My vote is not to worry. Model for your kids the best you can, but if you make them "suffer" what will they really be learning?

However, if you work hard it can be done. Lots of fruit and vegetables to fight matzah constipation. The other issue is your friends and family. Are you prepared to live with a disapproving look? Things to consider.

Whatever you decide is okay. I don't think God will be judging you.
Happy Passover!

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