Dear Mom and Dad,
I’m writing to you because I’m worried about getting ready for Pesach and I don’t know how to talk to you about it.
Even though I’m in fourth grade, you know that school is still really hard for me. There is so much going on there. Kids are running around, screaming, bumping, and pushing each other. All the noise and motion make me pretty stressed out and sometimes I need space just to calm down.
When I’m in class, it’s hard for me to concentrate and keep up with my work. And when it’s time for recess, sometimes I’m left out of the games and I don’t feel like part of the group.
Overall school is okay, but I can’t wait to get home every day just to rest. No one at school is really trying to understand me, but I still have to follow all the rules. It’s hard work and it makes me tired.
And now Pesach is coming. I am happy for the break, but I’m also nervous. What if home becomes like school?
You often get upset at me at home because I “drive you crazy” or bother little Moshe. Then you get frustrated with me and ask: “Why can’t you be a good boy like in school?” You don’t understand that because I am working so hard to be a good boy in school, I don’t have much energy left to be a good boy at home. My batteries are pretty empty by the time I come home and when I feel upset at something I don’t have the strength to control myself like I do in school.
Before Pesach you are very stressed; there is so much going on and so much to do. In the morning, Dad wants me to get dressed and come to shul with him or at least daven at home and learn something before we start the day. You ask me to help you clean and make sure there’s no chometz in the house, and you need me to help you with errands. There is a lot of pressure around the house and this is too much for me.
With all this stress, I can’t behave well because I need some space to calm down and be myself. But you then start to yell at me.
I really want to help you get ready for Pesach and I like it when you plan the day for me. Knowing what’s going to happen and what to expect makes me feel calmer. I want to have fun and be happy at home with you. It helps me when you tell me exactly what you expect me to do. When you say “clean your room” for Pesach, I don’t know where to start. One time you told me specifically which drawer to clean out and how to do it and that worked really well for me.
Another time you did a chart for each specific chore I needed to do and put on a sticker after I finished each one. Everything was so much easier and it was kind of exciting to work toward a treat when all the stickers were in place.
Having the music on while cleaning for Pesach also puts me in a better mood so I can do the work you want me to do.
I want to say thank you for cooking “normal” meals and caring that I eat well, because when I’m hungry, it´s even harder for me to help you.
At the same time, I wish you would let me get up later, stay in my pajamas longer, and just let me play without having pressure every morning. I wish you would let me do things my own way, even if it’ll come out different and not as perfect as you´d like. Please let me have some space and freedom to find out what my own way is. I like it when you ask me how I want things to be. It makes me feel like what I have to say is important to you.
Sometimes I just need to be silly! You do let me be silly sometimes—maybe not before Pesach—and those times you didn’t mind or make me feel bad about it. Then, when I get my silliness out, I don’t need to be silly so much.
Dear Mom and Dad, I wish you would talk to me about how to get ready for Pesach in a fun way. Even when you are so busy preparing, I hope you’ll stop to give me a smile and a hug and just ask me if I am doing okay. Home is that special place where you don’t just look at what I do but who I am.