Easter is this weekend, which means the “candy is killing you” crowd is in high gear. Newspaper headlines are already generating alarm. The Daily Express asks: “Will you be letting your child eat 250 teaspoons of SUGAR this weekend?” Another British publication advocates for a chocolate Easter egg tax. Nothing says praise the risen Lord like a sin tax.
If you’re worried about giving your child a sugary treat on Easter, have no fear; there are plenty of health-obsessed mommy shamers ready to provide you with some useless advice. Skinny Mom (natch) blogger Katie Olson explains how to make kids cry on Easter Morning by skipping the candy altogether. Instead, she offers super unhelpful ideas for candy replacements: money, small figurines or action figures, hair clips, fake bugs, marbles. Because that stuff tastes great!
Wealthy mom blogger Kelly Jane Cotter suggests you skip all that poison and opt instead for a $56 gold plated bee charm on a 16-inch chain. Can’t afford that? Don’t worry, she provides people like her cleaning lady and the nanny a link for the sterling silver version, available at the basement bargain price of $49. Phew!
Seemingly inspired by (and missing the whole point of) the well-known scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie is forced to endure his parent’s and brother’s laughter and ridicule while wearing Aunt Clara’s pink bunny suit, a blogger who writes for mom blog Red Tricycle suggests you too can mentally scar your child by dressing them in “rockin bunny jams.” The writer goes on to explain that you can “bring a little life into your kiddo’s sleeping selection by popping a pair of these pastel jammies into the Easter basket.” Because what kid doesn’t love getting a pile of clothes instead of delicious candy?
A website called Super Healthy Kids gives a whopping 50 alternatives to candy, listing such things as art supplies, bubble bath, a sippy cup (good one!), cookie cutters (Ummm, for what? Making cookies? More poison!), puzzles, Legos, and nail polish. Except for the sippy cup idea (what were they thinking?), these might be acceptable alternatives and I’m sure some kids would love to get a small toy instead of an Easter basket filled with candy. But as I was seeing these candy alternative lists pop up in my Facebook feed, I couldn’t help but wonder: When did we all become such Puritans? When did having a piece of candy become such an enormous issue?
Perhaps the better way to approach holidays that involve food or that typically include sugary treats is to try parenting—you know, where you guide your child to make good and healthy decisions and explain that there are special days (like certain holidays) where indulgence is allowed. It seems a pretty basic parental responsibility to explain to one’s kids that they should practice good eating habits most of the time while occasionally allowing themselves a treat.
Even food magazine Bon Appetit embraced this philosophy, featuring a cover story on how to eat “healthy-ish.” The magazine’s editor Adam Rapoport offered a snapshot of this eating style, writing that the magazine staff will “indulge when the situation arises (that reservation we’ve been gunning for; Shake Shack Fridays in the art department). And we try to eat smart other times.”
Surely parents can (and should) adopt this reasonable and very healthy philosophy when it comes to how they feed their kids.
I do. My kids eat healthy meals most of the time and I make sure that they understand that eating healthy is the norm. Yet, I do let them indulge from time to time: ice cream on a hot day after school, a Slurpee after a baseball game, a hot dog and fries at the neighborhood diner on a Friday night. And on holidays, I let them have fun and celebrate like I did as a kid. Parents are put under enormous strain these days to be perfect and are often told that heretofore normal behaviors—like letting your kid attack their candy-filled Easter baskets—are dangerous.
Let go of your ideal of perfection on Easter. Ignore the candy scolds and alarmist nonsense. Fill those baskets with what kids love.
Praise the Lord and pass the candy!