By Stephanie Walsh, M.D., Medical Director, Child Wellness, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Did the Easter Bunny come visit your house today? He sure made an appearance at mine!
With three young boys, you can imagine how my house was buzzing with all kinds of excitement. And, no, the Easter Bunny did not leave my kids baskets of fruits and veggies (although I am sure he thought about it) instead of chocolate and jelly beans.
No, he hopped on over and brought my kids the standard fare, in addition to a few pieces of fruit. But, as I say with all holidays where candy is involved, treat the treats as treats (say that five times fast!).
Instead of letting them eat everything from the basket at once, we spread out the amount of treats they get over several days. I decide what the treat is each day (candy or fruit) and then they choose from the basket – I want my kids to learn how to make healthy decisions for themselves since I won’t be there to watch over them every day. I’m in charge of whether they get candy or fruit but they are in charge of what they eat from the basket. The Easter Bunny also brings books to my house –he brought them to me as a child too and the tradition lives on.
It’s great to keep the old traditions and add new ones on – with my kids we add a family walk to the holiday festivities, too. Actually, this year we did much more than just a walk. We were active the whole day. We cleaned the driveway off so we could play basketball, we went to the driving range and we went to the park. We could not get enough of the beautiful weather.
Here are a couple of quick thoughts that may help you out at the next holiday where candy is involved:
- One tradition my kids look forward to is mom buying back the candy—a ritual we have at Halloween—because they love “earning” their own money. At Easter, the Easter Bunny gave a small amount of candy—not really enough for the kids to buy back. But, if the Easter Bunny has brought tons of candy to your house, you may want to give it a try. I tend to give about $.25 per piece of candy.
- I try not to forbid any specific treat because really every food fits. So, all of my kids did get a large chocolate Easter Bunny, but I am willing to bet that they will not touch it for several days because it’s not forbidden.