Easter egg hunts and the importance of family tradition
Easter always brought out the hats, gloves, and even with my husband’s protest….plaid shorts and sweaters for Connor! The dress will be a little different this weekend, I am sure! 🙂
I am so very blessed to have 3 of our 4 children, our wonderful son in law and our 6 month old grandchild home this coming weekend to celebrate Easter. We will miss our oldest daughter! It is easy to plan the weekend, because it is almost exactly the same every Easter! The girls will not be wearing white gloves and Easter bonnets like they did when they were young, but all four will be dressed up for church Easter Sunday morning. The eggs will be colored Saturday evening, the Easter dinner menu will include the traditional ham, “Easter cole slaw”, and other favorites, and of course there will be an egg hunt. As the children have gotten older, of course there are a few changes…the egg hunt now includes eggs filled with quarters or maybe a few gift certificates and a few “golden eggs” with a little extra cash for pizza or a movie. There is a real feeling of serious business as they head out for the eggs! The sweet little egg hunt they had when they were young with their cousins has become a race to the finish with winning in mind. The last few years we had a couple of the kids’ college friends join us and I always wondered what they thought when I handed them a basket for the egg hunt. Things will eventually change a bit again when our season in life brings us grandchildren, but the basics of the celebration will always remain the same….because as our kids say, “That is how we always do it!”
If we are smart we listen to our children when they say “That is how we always do it!” even when we have only done it that way one other time. Your child is not just talking about the good time he had, but the fact that it meant something to him and he thinks to you too. One of my favorite quotes is from the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “We live not by things, but the meaning of things.” It is not what you do or eat that is important, it is the meaning and feeling that comes with what you are doing that is so important to your child.
Creating your own special rituals now and faithfully repeating them throughout your child’s life will provide your child with a sense of security, stability, belonging and pride in his family. It is never too early to start your own family traditions.
Four reasons tradition is important to a family:
1. Traditions helps make life predictable. Rituals that are followed daily, weekly, and yearly such as family dinners, nightly stories, spring picnics, holiday songs etc. helps make children feel secure. Their world is often unpredictable—keeping things predictable at home gives security.
2. Traditions give families a time to connect. Sometimes we can feel unconnected when we get busy. Family meals, stories, game nights etc. help us reconnect and start talking. Soon we know what is going on in our children’s lives.
3. Family traditions teach children what their family values are. Service work, religious ceremonies, concern for the environment and many other values can be established through family traditions and activities. These are values that when they are reinforced with traditional activities, your child will bring with him to adulthood.
4. Tradition forms family identity. Build a family group for your child to feel connected to and this will often prevent them from trying to find other less suitable groups to identify with. A child’s family is a huge piece of their identity.
Traditions can be very simple…it is the act of repeating them, allowing them to change with your family’s “season in life” and keeping them fun that is the key. If something is not fun anymore, then let it go!
Don’t get hung up on creating the prefect rituals, let them happen naturally based on what your family enjoys. Many traditions just happen. The wonderful thing about becoming your own family is that you get to create your own traditions from scratch. Some you will come up with on your own, some you will borrow, and some you will discard from your past, but the traditions will become part of who your family is.
Some suggestions to try that might be fun:
1. The Easter Egg hunt…definitely a tradition.
- Hide a combination of plastic filled eggs and hard boiled
- Hide baskets
- Fill plastic eggs with clues to a bigger prize
- Use “bunny prints” to guide your child to his or her basket
- Put out carrots for the Easter Bunny
- Purchase a “special” basket for each of your children to be re-used each year
- Hard boil the eggs, let them cool slightly and let the kids “color” on them with crayons. The heat of the egg will melt the crayon just enough to make it easier.
- Use stickers to decorate the eggs until you are ready to tackle egg dye.
- Have an egg decorating contest
- Glitter eggs…roll eggs is glue and glitter
- Use fine tip markers to decorate detailed eggs
- Try marbling eggs by adding a little vegetable oil to the dye you are using
- Tear up different colored tissue paper and glue it on the eggs for a stain glass window look
- Traditionally at the end of a Lenten fast, many families indulge in sweets, find an Easter dessert that you can make together.
- Find a menu that everyone enjoys, and make it your own! Spring marks the start of lots of fresh local foods. I can’t wait for the fresh new asparagus for our Easter dinner!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.