Two Kids, Four Questions: How To Appease Children At The Seder?

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Dear Miriam, 

My daughter, an only child, is very attached to saying the four questions at the seder and isn’t very used to sharing attention. This year, we have some cousins joining us for seder who aren’t usually there, and apparently their little girl is also used to being the youngest and saying the four questions. How can we plan ahead to appease both of these children and keep the peace? 


Tension with the Tots


Dear Tension,

While seder is often a time for traditions and familiarity, it’s also a time for innovation and creativity. And your whole family is really going to need that innovation and creativity this year with two little ones competing for the spotlight. 

If both kids will be with you for both seders, each one could take a night. If they’re only joining you for one night, maybe there’s a way your daughter can be the gracious host and cede that one night of ma tishtana-ing while keeping the other night all to herself (perhaps with some incentive involved). While singing together doesn’t seem like their style, there’s also nothing wrong with taking the time to let both kids sing the whole thing individually. Everyone will kvell, it’ll be cute, and hopefully they’ll both be satisfied. 

Even in that last choice, which may be the best-case scenario, someone will need to go first, and you will need everyone’s buy-in on how that gets decided. You can say that the guest goes first, you can draw lots (I mean, wrong holiday, but it’s an option), or you can let your daughter decide the order. Whatever the plan is should be clearly communicated to the other family in advance so that their child can also be prepared and you can all hope for fewer surprises (read: meltdowns) at the table.

I also wonder about some advanced prep that has nothing to do with the four questions but is more focused on the relationship between these two kids. Maybe you can get them on a Zoom before Monday and they can show off their toys or dance moves or pets to each other. Maybe you can both arrive early to the seder and the girls can play outside together a bit before things get underway. Hopefully, you can manage everyone’s expectations and need for the spotlight by communicating clearly with both the parents and the child – and your child! Getting practice sharing is never a bad thing, but, even so, I recommend hiding two afikomen this year. 

Be well, and wishing you a chag sameach, a happy Passover,