How do I communicate with my culturally Christian day care that they can’t send food home this week during Passover? The kids made Easter baskets last week, and my son was excited about it, but even to avoid a tantrum, I’m not going to bring it into my house.
Ban the Basket
This is one of those conversations that you never realize you need to have until it’s too late. Once the basket is made, and especially once your child knows the intention is to take it home, you already have a situation. Rather, moving forward, now you know that all dietary restrictions, including those that are only one week a year, should be on your child’s day care forms. But hindsight, right?
For now, if the basket is still at day care, give them a call ASAP and let them know that any food items will need to stay there until next week. Your child could bring home any toys or other items, if you’re comfortable with Easter-themed things coming into your house, but the food can’t come home.
Communicate that to the teachers in the context of it being your oversight for not letting them know, and thank them for accommodating. If it’s somehow already come home, put the food away wherever the rest of your chametz is and try to draw attention away it. It would still be worth telling the day care that no more food can come home this week.
As for your child, talk up about all the delicious chocolate options in your house right now for Pesach and explain that the foods from school will be available after the holiday. There may be tears, but nothing that a chocolate-covered marshmallow or jelly fruit slice won’t eventually fix. Any other little trinkets or frog toys or afikoman prizes can also be talked up in this context.
Even though ultimately this is a minor and short-term toddler-related problem, the way you handle it will set things up for how you handle harder questions about Passover later on in your child’s life, including birthday parties, school lunch (if you’re not doing day school) and playdates.
One thing that’s worked for my family in past years is to make a list during Pesach of all the chametz things we’ve had to say no to, and to make sure the kids get them in the week after the holiday ends. I also don’t really restrict candy at home during Passover so they have a literal sweet association with our holiday. It’s no Easter egg, but everyone loves a chocolate lollipop.
Be well, and chag sameach,