Planning Lag B’Omer Day with Little Kids

A little bit of forethought can help you prevent tantrums, meltdowns and the overpriced thing your kid begged for.

“Look! The Great Parade!”

My kids (even the ones who can’t read) excitedly point out the logo on every flier, advertising screen and store window that we pass. In Crown Heights, Lag B’Omer is a BIG DEAL, from the parade to the street fair.

It’s a day full of excitement – almost like Purim. The streets are packed, and the air is full of energy.

It can also be overwhelming, overstimulating and hectic.

Kids want to have a good time, but there’s so much going on: noise, action, the heat. It can tip them over the edge… into a sensory meltdown. Add in things they’re not fully processing or didn’t receive clear expectations around – I didn’t see the drums; how come everyone else is getting cotton candy! – and tantrums can happen as well.

No wonder my coaching client wanted to discuss preparing Lag B’Omer! We created a plan of action personalized to her circumstances.

The truth is that a lot of parenting is just about being proactive. Prepare the environment and establish the boundaries first, and there will be less behavior to manage or discipline later.

Here are some general suggestions that I offered her and ways that I personally plan to keep the day running smoothly so it’s fun for everyone. Incorporating even one small tweak can make a big difference in your day, whether you’re celebrating in Crown Heights or somewhere else.

Start Off Right

For kids going to school:

  • Make sure they eat a full breakfast (especially if their bus is coming earlier than usual, or usual snack or meal times will be skipped).
  • Stick a snack bar in their pocket that they can pull out later.

For you and younger children:

  • YOU eat a real breakfast, and make sure the little kids eat, too.
  • Wear comfortable shoes! It’s a lot of walking!
  • Pack a full diaper bag with everything you need for the day, including food. Sure, you can stop off anywhere to pick something up… but do you want to?

Set Up for Success

Before leaving the house for the day, I like to prepare food to return to. I even set the table with cups of water and a serving platter of fruits or veggies (or stick in the fridge), so that there’s healthy food waiting as soon as we walk in the door and wash our hands. That also buys time to get supper ready.

It takes forethought and some planning, but it’s always worth it to do the prep work beforehand and come home to a meal ready in the oven or waiting to just be reheated.

Lunches that come together quickly: Pasta, cooked plain in advance and heated with premade sauce; raw scrambled eggs already checked and seasoned; a pan of frozen lasagna left cooking in the toaster oven, or thawed and ready to bake.

Quick supper ideas: Chicken, left covered at 350 for 2-3 hours; leftovers from Shabbos or meals like meatballs and spaghetti to warm up; raw schnitzel breaded in advance; rice or soup in the Instant Pot.

Safety Rules

I write my phone number on address labels and stick it to the back of my kids’ shirts.

Review safety rules: if you are lost, stay in your spot. Ask a mommy with a stroller, a policeman or a worker in a uniform for help.

If your child will go on rides by themselves, decide on a meet up point.

We play a “getting lost game”. From the time my kid can talk, I use the same script every time so they can memorize the answers: “Why are you crying, little boy? Are you lost? What’s your name? What’s your last name? What’s your Tatty’s name? What’s your Mommy’s name? What’s your brothers’ names? What’s your baby’s name? (From age 4) What’s your address?” We have actually used this twice in real life. Baruch Hashem it was nothing major, but in both cases, my lost kids (at ages 3 and 5) were able to communicate and find help.

Prep for the Parade

  • A stroller – although it’s hard to navigate crowds with, and you might be able to get away without using it – provides a cool, dark, quiet space and built-in seat for tired little feet.
  • Pack water – it’s a long time to sit in the sun with no shade.
  • Bring lots of snacks! And “snacks” can also mean grilled cheese sandwiches, waffles, plain pasta in containers, sliced apples and cucumbers, yogurt squeezies, etc. Offer hungry kids real food first.
  • A baby may need a portable fan and noise-canceling headphones if you’ll be close to the music and drums.
  • Bring a cap or visor for kids who won’t have stroller shade.

Post parade (or after any event):

Debrief after the parade: to process what happened, to hype up the positive, or to validate any boredom or frustration. “We saw this and this. We got a little startled by the loud drums. You waited so patiently for your turn. You did a great job looking out to see your sibling marching.”

Fun at the Fair

Even the most organized street fair or carnival gets hectic. It’s just the nature of it, and also the reason they are so fun!

There’s a lot of excitement and temptations, and if the boundaries aren’t clear, kids may get upset (especially if they are also overwhelmed or hungry). A little advance prep goes a long way here.

As an adult, you know how long you’re going to be there, how much you’re willing to spend, and which rides your child may be too young or short for. Decide in advance – or decide that you’re willing to be cajoled into it. And then… just communicate all of that.

Talk to them in advance – the day before; the day of; as you’re heading there.

Prepare them for the new setting:

  • “When we get there, there’s going to be a lot of rides. You will not run ahead. You stay next to me and hold onto the stroller.”
  • “When it’s our turn, you’re going to take off your shoes and put them in this bag [labeled with your name]. You will keep your hands on your body and not push other kids.”

Let them know what to expect:

  • “We won’t go on every ride. We will go on at least 3, and more if we have time.”
  • “We’re not going to go on the swings, but you can choose which bounce house to go on first.”

Model dealing with disappointment, and practice being flexible:

  • “What if we see a ride that we really want to go on, but the line is very long? Should we use up our time waiting, or choose something else in the meantime?”
  • “What will be our plan if it’s almost our turn, and then the ride closes?”

Anticipate and plan for bumps that may come up:

  • “Remember last year, when we waited in line for so long and then there was no more popcorn? How should we plan for that this year?”
  • “I know you really want snow cones. If there aren’t any, what treat will you choose instead?”

Set clear boundaries:

  • “I am giving you 1 ticket. You can choose 1 treat. I am not buying more tickets.”
  • “This is what is happening. Even if you kvetch, I will not change my mind.”

Provide alternatives, so they get what they want – your way:

  • “There will be a lot of food and snacks. I am not buying hot dogs. We will have hot dogs for supper at home.”
  • “Yes, you can have cotton candy. I bought bags from the store as a treat so that we don’t have to wait in line.”

Kids always do better with firm and fair boundaries. Do them a favor and stick to your word. They are allowed to get upset, and “No” is a full sentence. (Although, if they know what to expect, they may be more likely to be flexible in the moment.)

And if it’s all getting too much for them, it’s probably time to call it a day and head home for some calm and quiet.


This day is so special! There’s so much going on. You may even have a wedding or upshernish to attend! (As always, feed your kids before going!)

Have fun. Seriously, let your inner child have fun! It’s also a joyous day for us adults, not just for kids! 

Lag sameach! May the power of Lag B’Omer show us revealed miracles!

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