Don’t let your children’s memories of Yom Tov be all about the stress. Plan and diminish some of the stress that will inevitably creep in. Be prepared to laugh at the mishaps that do pop up. Keep your expectations realistic.
• Figure out together how you can best use the days leading up to Yom Tov so that Yom Tov is pleasant and smooth. Hire a baby sitter so you can cook? Be realistic about food prep – how much do you really need? Buy some foods from take out? Cook together at night? Make sure all clothing is designated in a single spot? Pack kids treat bags in advance.
• Make lists – and print them for use on Yom Tov – to avoid forgetting things at last minute.
• Prepare treats for the kids in shul. And other new toys and surprises to keep them motivated and occupied. Books, trinkets, [what would your kids like?].
• Determine together which kids you hope will join at the evening meals. Will they take naps during the day? What will happen if they get cranky – in your own home, if you are guests?
• Come up with a secret code that you use if you need support from each other in dealing with a particular situation.
• Do a run through with the kids so they know what to expect.