Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Toddlers love to be a part of things, not just to watch them happen. My son loves to cook, so a way to help him to be a part of our Hanukah preparations was helping me to make cookies. I bought premade dough, and my son stamped the cookies with cookie stamps. He loved to help make the cookies, and of course he loved to help eat them too!
Before Hanukah, I got out all of our books about the holiday and read them to my sons. We also started to play with the dreidel and singing the traditional songs. This is the first year my older son was starting to understand a bit of what was going on.
I decided to try to separate the gift aspect of the celebration from the spiritual part. So each night, we’d light the candles and sing, but I gave him gifts sporadically and not at those times. I didn’t say “Here’s your Hanukah present!”
—Deborah Kulick, MD, a mom of two-year-old and eight-month-old sons, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Everett Teen Health Center and an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance, in Boston, MA
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Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Ever since my kids were babies I’ve had this lovely Christmas tradition. I put each of their baby hats on the Christmas tree. I have two tiny pink hats and one tiny blue hat hanging on my tree.
—Siobhan Dolan, MD, a mom of two daughters ages 16 and 13 and a son age 11, a consultant to the March of Dimes, and an associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine / Montefiore Medical Center, in Bronx, NY