Pascha Parenting Tips
Young children usually love the idea of a celebration that takes place in the middle of the night! But their parents, who are already tired by the time the Pascha service begins at midnight, may wonder how to attend with peace and joy, instead of frustration and tears.
It’s important to have realistic expectations. Children are children, even on Pascha. Many children will behave more appropriately if they know what to expect. Review the service with them during the day on Holy Saturday. You can watch videos of Pascha services, or read a Pascha story like Catherine’s Pascha. Point out to your child things that will be the same at your parish, and things that will be different.
Tips from the Family Pascha Guide
Deacon Mark Oleynik of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, State College, PA, has prepared a Family Pascha Guide with ideas and suggestions to help parents guide their children through the services of Holy Friday, Holy Saturday, and Pascha.
Here are his parenting tips for Pascha. You’ll notice, when you read Catherine’s Pascha, that Catherine’s parents do all of these things!
- Although it may be difficult, try to get your child to rest or take a nap on Saturday. Every kid wants to stay up late…this is their big chance!
- Dress your child warmly and perhaps bring a blanket to wrap them in to keep the chill away.
- Younger children will probably fall asleep at some point—this is to be expected. They will still probably remember many things about the night.
- “Gently” rouse your child for communion several minutes before they will receive the Body and Blood.
- Teach your children the Paschal greeting (Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!) in different languages. They will like to respond out loud to these greetings—especially in church.
When the midnight service isn’t possible
Children with certain medical conditions need to eat and sleep on a regular schedule, even on Pascha. If your child can’t attend services in the middle of the night, be sure to bring them to the Holy Saturday liturgy, and to Agape Vespers. Create special Paschal traditions that you can observe at home. For example, you could make Pascha cookies together in the afternoon, or listen to a recording of the music from the Paschal services in the evening.
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