It may seem that we have just recently packed away the sparkling Christmas lights and tree! Now we are looking forward to the Easter weekend and will again be required to dig into our pockets to purchase gigantic chocolate Easter bunnies, pink and blue eggs and boxes of chocolate marshmallow eggs!
Retailers start selling the chocolate treats a few days after Valentine’s Day (or so it seems) and for the next two months, parents are begged by their offspring to purchase bunnies and eggs – resulting in a chocolate overload. Using a little ingenuity and a little creative thinking, parents can escape the worry of a chocolate overload and still enjoy the fun family times that the Easter holidays bring.
The Easter egg Hunt
No Easter weekend is complete without an Easter egg hunt – however, there is no standing rule which states that only sugar-loaded chocolate eggs must be buried haphazardly in the garden. Instead of hiding just Easter Eggs look out for novelty Easter toys, such as plush bunnies, egg-cup holders, etc. Woolworths has a wonderful range of Easter egg treats, such as tins, bags, cars etc, and these novelty buys do not contain masses of sugar-laden treats. What’s more the Woolies sweets and treats contain no harmful additives and are tartrazine free. This is a definite hit for all suburban moms who are dreading spending their Easter weekend trying to tame or calm down a hyperactive toddler or preschooler, who has not only overloaded on sugar, but is on a tartrazine high!
It is often better to purchase Easter Eggs from well-known confectioners. Even though the price of the eggs may be slightly more – the ingredients used to make the eggs are of a far better quality and in the long run better for your child. Look for bunnies and eggs which are made from good quality chocolate, rather than the more inferior quality eggs which are made from cheap substitutes.
Pace the hunter and make a day of it
In addition to looking for safe alternatives to a sugar overload, another way to limit chocolate excess is to hold two or more hunts over the weekend. A traditional Easter egg hunt is usually done on the morning of Easter, and dad is commonly sent out a few hours before sunrise to hide the decadent treats. As an alternative to doing the very early morning hunt, choosing to prepare a healthy breakfast is a wise idea and then the hunt can be done after breakfast. In this way kids will not be ravenous and will (the hope is) not devour each and every chocolate egg and bunny that has been found.
Divide the loot into three or four portions and hold miniature hunts throughout the day or use the Monday as a final hunt day. Another great way to keep kids from consuming all eggs found is to host the Easter egg hunt at a local park. The preparation of going there, as well as the appeal of the swings and merry-go-rounds may just be enough distraction for the eager hunter to leave their revealed spoils and spend their time burning up their energy on the swings and see-saws.
Safety in numbers – arrange a hunt with friends or family. Again the added number of kids will help to keep the child occupied and this may be the best method to prevent a chocolate overload. Once all the treats have been found, parents may need to pry the foiled colored treasures out of their toddler’s hands and pack them away, it may be a lot easier to hide on a handful of eggs at a time and in this way avoid the tug-of-war game once the hunt is over.
Do more – rather than just rushing out on Easter morning to randomly toss the eggs or bunnies behind the first tree or rock that is found, take time to plan the hunt. Dust the floor with talcum powder or flour and leave Easter Bunny footprints together with decorated baskets. Little egg hunters will be fascinated by the thought that the Easter Bunny was hopping around their garden and they’ll probably spend many hours trying to track and follow the bunny’s footprints.
Older children will love a more calculated and clever hunt. If you consider yourself to be a creative thinker and have a little spare time on your hands, why not prepare a detailed Easter egg map. Provide clues along the way or draw up a rough map of the garden and take pleasure in the kid’s delight as they discover the location of the hidden treasure. Putting a little more time and effort into the egg hunt will ensure that the most eager of hunters are paced, and what’s more the fun will be about the actual hunt, rather than consuming the spoils.
Share with others
One of the best ways to spend an Easter morning is to spend it with those who are less fortunate. There are so many South African children who have never experienced the smooth, rich and creamy texture of a chocolate Easter Bunny. Most children, especially an older child, will welcome the thought of hunting with other kids. Contact the many South African children’s organisations, such as Cotlands, SOS Children Villages etc, to find out if you can arrange an Easter egg hunt. Web address for Cotlands www.cotlands.co.za/contact-us/.
These organisations will generally welcome the idea and besides sharing the joy with other less fortunate, your child or children will enjoy a hunt with many other eager kids.
Teach the real meaning of Easter
Most children do not understand the significance of the Easter Weekend or why Easter is celebrated. So many children simply associate Easter with chocolate – and lots of it. Take the time to teach your child the real meaning of Easter and why millions of people around the world celebrate this holiday. In the true spirit of the holiday, use the long weekend to spend time with each other as a family and teach kids the value of family and love.
– Kathy Baron