Friday night is definitely my favourite part of Shabbat, but for the boys, Saturday is. Daddy doesn’t work on Shabbat, and that means it is a day full of fun and relaxation! Shabbat with kids is not as relaxing and purely God-focused as it is without kids (at least not for us!), but as they get older we are starting to see a new phase where our kids can do more things, and need less attention, leaving us a bit of time to sit and read and rest!
There are so many lists of things you can’t do on Shabbat depending on your level of orthodoxy, but as someone who hasn’t grown up keeping the Sabbath like this, I really wasn’t sure what the Sabbath day should look like. Would it look the same as Sundays were when I was a kid? Or would it look completely different? The answer is different for everyone, but I wanted to share what Shabbat looks like for our family. 🙂
We don’t follow this the same each week – some days we do it in different order, and sometimes we miss parts of this – just depends on the week!
Step 1: Sleep In. Bahaha! Not really. My kids wake up at like 5:30am. 6:30am in the Winter. Thankfully they know not to bother us, and are fairly happy to just play in their rooms until we get up. So we do get a bit of a sleep in. This will probably end soon once Ahava is a bit more active, in which case we will probably do a swapsy – one parent must get up with the baby, but that parent gets to lock in a nap for later in the day. Seriously though, we do try to sleep in as much as possible, or at least have all the kids bundle into the bed and we all hang out there till someone start to complain about breakfast.
Step 2: Breakfast. Usually this is just the same as any other day – weet-bix, muesli, yoghurt, smoothie…
Step 3: Nature. Quite often we head down the the river to meet up with my parents and do some stand up paddle boarding. Other times we just head to the park, or the beach. I really appreciate this time to just chill and see family, and relax. We always leave their company feeling rejuvenated and encouraged. I’m not sure they can say the same for us!
Step 4: Kid naps + lunch. Lior will sometimes nap on Shabbat, because we often have a later night waiting for the sun to set in the Summer time etc. I prepare lunch, which I again like to keep pretty simple. Sandwiches, wraps, salads… We use our microwave & sandwich press on Shabbat, so sometimes I just heat up some sort of leftovers as well.
Step 5: Kids that slept have their lunch a bit later, and usually around this time Luke and I will split up and read by ourselves, or one of us will have a nap. Once the kids have had their lunch they play.
Step 6: Bible study. Before Ahava was born we were hosting a Bible study at our place which was a great experience. I do hope that we can start it up again. As it is currently, sometimes during this time Luke and I will sit down and have a cup of tea together and talk about the torah portion, or God related things we haven’t had a chance to catch up on with each other. I’m starting to prepare some shabbat activities for the kids focussed on the parashah, but that’s still a work in progress. The kids like to play or do some art during this time.
Step 7: Late afternoon snacks. Sometimes this is a bit like dinner, especially if they’ve had short or no naps in the day. But more often it’s crackers and dip, chips, fruit, boiled eggs…
Step 8: Havdallah. We all get together and light the havdallah candle, smells the spices, drink the wine, and sing the songs. It’s our way to say “goodbye” to the Shabbat, and start the week.
Step 9: Dinner time. I usually make some simple like eggs on toast, or sometimes we get takeaway.
Step 10: Bedtime. Even though we’ve had a restful day, I’m usually pretty keen to go to sleep at a reasonable time, though sometimes Luke and I will watch a bit of TV. I probably should be cleaning up, as Shabbat tends to be a bit of a messy day!
So that is some of the basic components to our Shabbat! Not too complicated, or busy. Just a nice relaxing day. There are definitely things we want to do better at, and change. And things that I can see will happen as the kids get older. For now though, this is what the day looks like! For you, it might end up looking totally different! It’s important to seek God and do your best to honour this blessed day!
The final blog post in this series will be a Q&A, so feel free to email me your questions so I can include them in the final post. 🙂 Email: talia (@) carbis.com.au