Surviving The Easter Egg Hunt
I don’t believe in cheating but when it comes to kids and candy anything’s possible. As any parent knows, taking your kids to the local Easter egg hunt means dealing with a mixed bag of nuts for other kids and their parents too. You know what I am talking about… your little Ricky gets cross-checked by a future NFL lineman; rendered unconscious by some MMA wannabe; and screamed at by the local Walmart greeter parents. Thoroughly traumatized and exhibiting PTSD symptoms, your child returns empty-handed and with trembling lips utters an expletive describing the Easter Bunny’s illegitimacy. Here’ some suggestions for helping your child survive this ordeal (and for you too)…
PUBLIC HUNTS –
These activities can be organized by nearly anyone who volunteers to do it for free. I’ve seen some that were set up by former military strategists with such precision and coordination it would rival a D-Day invasion. Others were surprisingly (really?) just some Parks & Rec people walking out on the city park lawn and tossing eggs around like fertilizer… right in from of the kids and everyone. No giant bunny suit or mystery here kids – welcome to the real world …now at the bell come out swinging. Helping your kids to come out of these events with any semblance of self respect is an uphill battle.
Here is the secret to making everything come out to some level of normal and to avoid the “dead man walking” ride home. Take your own candy and eggs. Seriously - Just do it. Mom has that giant 6 passenger purse; Dad has a backpack (please, no fanny packs). Plan ahead, and stuff those things with pre-loaded plastic Easter eggs. This is about survival folks, and I can guarantee your little ones will never notice that some of their eggs are a different size or color than the others. The key is how to get them into your kid’s bag, basket, or bonnet without them catching on to the ruse. Simple – divide and conquer. One parent offers to “hold” the hunt bags while the other parent leads the charge for the kids to tackle round 2 of the hunt. Send them right back into the fray with words of encouragement and secret knowledge that you KNOW where some more eggs are hidden…just over and around those bushes or that tree. Use your imagination, I mean they’re kids for goodness sake. It’s not like this is the first time you’ve ever lied to them…make it count. As soon as they take off, pull out the spare eggs you brought and quietly supplement their original bounty. Don’t go overboard because you did not raise stupid kids…but mix it up and make it quick. Even consider just switching your hidden bag of goodies and stuffing their near empty one into the backpack. Presto – instant winner!
BACKYARD HUNTS –
You own the yard, you set the rules, and you get to control the process. Curtail the free for all and cut off those egg-hogging neighbor kids by giving them directions. For example: “Everyone gets 10 eggs.” No more, no less, and the first kid back here to home base with their 10 eggs gets a bonus prize. Then send them off and make sure you have a bonus prize for every kid regardless of when they come back. And police the egg limits like a TSA agent doing body checks at the airport. Kids too young to count get help and the older ones get bounced for being over-egged. Now if by chance you don’t get to run the backyard hunt because you are the guest, then use the same approach as the public hunts but with a little less subterfuge involved. Misdirection coupled with a slight of hand, and off they go happy and ready for their sugar chocolate high.
Those of you who want your kids to learn about “winners and losers” can ignore all these tips and just hand them the candy. Better yet, skip the drama altogether and just drill a nice cavity into one of their teeth… then tell them it’s a gift from the Easter Bunny. Or maybe you can talk to them about what Easter really means….. now hop along little buddy before I bite off you ear!