Did My Child Purim A Little Too Much?

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Dear Miriam,

I think my daughter may have enjoyed Purim a little *too* much. After an exciting carnival on Sunday, an exhausting megillah reading Monday night, and an adorable dress-up day at pre-school on Tuesday, she thinks that costumes are in and regular clothes are out, plus treats and snacks are definitely in, and anything resembling a fruit deserves to be booed like Haman. How can I ease her away from this mindset without crushing her joy?


Plenty of Purim (and then some)


Dear Plenty,

Toddlers, as a general rule, are not known for their cooperativeness or their conformity. That is true on any day of the week, not just holidays. I’d say, on average, a toddler is just as likely to refuse to wear a costume at all as she is to put it on and refuse to take it off. I’ve known members of the preschool set to insist on Monday that apples are the only acceptable food, only to cry when given an apple on Tuesday. All this is to say, you’re fine, your daughter is fine, and this too shall pass.

In the meantime, you have the great opportunity, in a low-stakes situation, to practice the important toddler parenting motto of “pick your battles.” Maybe the costume stays on but the prop stays at home, or maybe the treats are just plain available for her until she loses interest or they disappear (through whatever means necessary…). Either way, a week or even two of this kind of indulgence isn’t going to be harmful in the moment and isn’t likely to create lasting patterns. 

You may also find it helpful to remind yourself that if it wasn’t Purim creating this break in routine and extreme preference shift, it would be something else. Indeed, sometime soon, you’ll face some other shift in routine that will likely cause some other change in behavior. You can’t possibly account for all the things that might ever cause your preschooler to get upset – or to make a choice that’s not the most convenient – and arranging your world around her whims is no way to live. 

This week, though, in the here and now, let her wear the costume. Eventually, she’ll tire of it or you’ll need to insist it get washed or she’ll choose a random t-shirt and never want to take that off instead. Offer a variety of foods, including treats and healthy snacks and anything else she might say yes to, and take a neutral stance toward what she does or doesn’t eat. Try to settle into the positive viewpoint that she loved Purim just that much, and then watch and wait to see where she goes from here. 

Be well,