Does the Easter Bunny = Candy????

April 6, 2019 0 Comments

After 28 years of foster/adoptive parenting, I’ve developed my own ‘Easter Bunny’ style. Each kid comes from their bio family with their own ideas of what Easter looks like (any holiday for that matter) and I try to glean some of those ideas. For a couple of reasons, I want to hear what they are used to and what they would like to see/have. Much of what they share has nothing to do with their Easter basket.

One reason for digging is that, especially if/when it’s a first holiday away from their first family, I want to see if there is something that they love about what happens in their birth family, and if I can duplicate anything that will make them feel better. Sometimes it’s nothing, because I really CAN’T make it just like they want, so they may feel more sad that I’ve done something that their parent isn’t able to do for them this year. Or, sometimes, they are grateful that the smell of that jello egg brings happy memories of time with their original family. It’s a fine line, but it’s important to discern, because this is what can make connections that help the child feel safe.

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The second reason is that sometimes I get great ideas from the kids for the ‘Easter Bunny’ to add to her repertoire. Some of my favorite traditions that I’ve developed over the years have come from brilliant bio parents. So….CANDY! I don’t believe in either no candy OR a lot of candy. I think there is a middle ground, though my middle ground leans to the ‘less is better’ end of the candy spectrum. I gauge how much candy the Easter Bunny brings by how much sugar each child can consume in one day and not get a tummy ache. It’s not because I am fundamentally opposed to sugar, but I have found over the years that the kids don’t enjoy candy as much as other things the Easter Bunny finds to gift them with. They get excited about the candy that morning and I let them eat however much they want for that day only. After Easter Day, whatever they have not eaten gets rationed to 1 or 2 pieces of candy a day. That’s why I try to figure out how much sugar a kid can gobble up all at once without getting sick; if they eat it all at once, it’s only one crazy sugar high day.

So…. what does the Easter Bunny give if it’s not all candy. The Easter Bunny in our home has had some amazing wins!!!!! Every child gets a different basket based on age and interests. But, sometimes there is a gender theme or a family theme or an age theme. I’ll share some of my favorites.

One big win was the year I found a lot of Pokémon stuff for the boys… T-shirts, Pokémon balls, a board game, and the homemade coupons the Easter Bunny made for time on Mom’s phone with Pokémon Go. We spent the next 6 months with redeemed coupons for individual Pokemon adventures and kid excitement (instead of boredom) while we waited for siblings at swimming, or the dentist, or gymnastics. Connection, memories, and fun!!

Gotta catch ’em all

Another win one year was COOKIES! Each Easter Basket had a cookie kit and, since spring break from school happened the week after Easter that year, those kits involved the whole family in measuring, mixing, baking, decorating, and giving. I had 8 kids at the time and the Bigs helped the Littles through everything. Then we went to an Assisted Living facility and spent a couple of hours handing out cookies and singing and taking pictures. It was such a special memory.

Princess Party

One year, my three youngest girls got a fairy tent. They played in it, slept in it and had multiple doll parties in it, all the way through summer. That was a definite brilliant win!

Sidewalk Mermaid
Water Play!

Aside from the serendipitous fun finds some years, traditional basket stuffers include several things. ***Sidewalk chalk for EVERYONE, no matter what age. We love our sidewalk and driveway art for family time. ***Another standard for EVERYONE is crayons or markers or color pencils and some kind of coloring book. It’s one of our techniques, all of us, for calming down, walking away, thinking (or NOT thinking if our brains need to slow down). It’s also one of our favorite family activities just to hang out together. ***And the last standard is that EVERYONE gets swim goggles and new swim towels. We love water! I’ve had several kids on club and/or recreational swim teams and most of the time, I have 1-5 kids taking lessons. Plus, we find water all summer whenever we can. Living in Seattle, we find spray parks, pools, and beaches on Lake Washington or on the Salish Sea. And most summers, we find our way over the Pacific beaches.

The rest of the basket fillers are very personalized…favorite make up for teens, next book in a series for my readers, Legos (almost always for one kid or another), anything pink or sparkly or unicorn related for my fantasy kids and/or red or blue or ANYTHING with wheels for my on-the-go kids (especially if whatever has wheels also makes noise).

All of this is how I’ve come to think beyond candy. The Easter Bunny and Santa are in cahoots, so all year is spent keeping an eye out for what a kid would love. I have a box in the garage for each kid and when I see something great on sale or snag a great find at a yard sale, it goes in someone’s box. Those boxes are my go-to for birthdays, Christmas and Easter. Helps with expenses and time!

Do you have any favorite Easter basket traditions? I’m always looking to up my “Easter Bunny” reputation. Happy Spring!!!!


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April 11, 2019