A question in Chinnuch. How is the best way to deal with a boy that just turned 3 years old and wearing tzitzis (already potty-trained). The boy is easy to put on a yarmulke however not so easy to put on tzitzis. Should one push? What can be done? Wait? Encourage it or at least offer everyday? Say nothing? Thanks!

Answer:

There is no obligation for a child to be wearing tzitzis from the age of three, and the obligation in chinuch terms begins only when the child is able to wear tzitzis on his own, and according to the Rema from when he can hold tzitzis during the recitation of the shema.

See Shulchan Aruch 17; see also Haurch Ha-Shulchan (17:5) who questions why there should be an obligation to buy a beged for one’s child — for there is no actual obligation to buy oneself a beged, and the more so concerning one’s son.

Yet, although there is no formal obligation, the general cusom is to dress a child with tzitzis, and because his friends in gan (kindergarden) will all have this, it becomes especially recommended, so that he won’t be “the only kid without tzitzis.”

One doesn’t have to be super-religious about this, and if some activities (such as going to the bathroom) are complicated, one can take off tzitzis during the afternoon.

Best wishes.

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