Swap chocolate for experiences this Easter

Looking for an alternative Easter gift idea for kids? One child psychologist suggests swapping Easter chocolate with experiences can a great way to strengthen parent-child relationships.

While the prospect of gobbling chocolate eggs at Easter time fills most children with delight, parents may already know that too many of these high sugar and saturated fat treats is unhealthy.
 
It’s no surprise, then, that a growing number of parents are choosing to give their kids experiences instead of chocolate treats this Easter.

Dr Kimberley O’Brien, child psychologist at the Quirky Kids Clinic, says an experience can give a child something chocolate can’t deliver: quality time with loved ones.

 “At Easter, there’s lots of commitments and extended family coming over; kids can get ignored with visitors coming and going,” says Dr O’Brien. “It’s good to spend some time with just the immediate family; time that’s just about having fun together.”
 
Experiences can also give parents the opportunity to focus on each of their children. Alongside family time, Dr O’Brien encourages parents to spend one-on-one time with their kids, preferably doing a “shoulder to shoulder” activity where you work together.
 
“Kids thrive on that attention”, she says. “They will often prefer to work with a parent rather than for them, as they feel like you’re respecting them as an individual… Schedule time to maintain your relationship with your child, and they will take the opportunity to share what’s on their mind with you.”
 
So, keen to offer your children an experience instead of chocolate, but stuck for Easter gift ideas? Here are a few to help you get started.
Family outdoors together
  • Get back to nature. Research suggests exercising outdoors has a positive effect on our physical and mental health. In Australia, there are many family-friendly outdoor experiences to choose from: bushwalking, bike riding, swimming at the beach, paddleboarding or if your child loves animals, a trip to a wildlife park.
  • Do a fun project together. A project can be a great way to work with your child in a one-to-one scenario. If your child loves getting their hands dirty, try creating a vegetable patch or a science experiment together. If they’re creative, a craft or photography project might be more their cup of tea.
  • Travel. Anywhere. Going away over the Easter break can be as elaborate as a trip to Fiji, or as simple as a few days at a local holiday spot. A camping trip can also be a great experience for the whole family, while travelling interstate can give kids an opportunity to see new places in their own country.
  • See a live performance. If you want to give the kids an experience to remember, why not take them to a live show? Whether it’s the ballet, a monster truck rally, or a musical, seeing a live performance can be a great way to spend time together as a family.
  • Get kids to choose their own Easter adventure. Children love to be included in the decision-making process. For one-on-one time, giving your child ‘Quality Time’ vouchers to redeem can be a fun gift idea, not to mention a great way to let them set the agenda for your time together. 
  • Get your relatives in on the act. Family and friends love to give kids chocolate as an Easter gift, which can result in a pantry bulging with sugar-laden, foil wrapped treats – and lots of temptation for the whole family. Instead, gently suggest that relatives treat your child to an experience instead. A trip to the park with grandma can be much more memorable than a chocolate bunny. 
  • Replace 'sometimes foods' with a different food experience. Who says kids only like eating junk food? Think outside the box and create a special Easter food-related experience for your child as an alternative to chocolate, whether it’s a family picnic, a fancy high tea, or an action-packed night of Japanese teppanyaki. Another simple but fun option is cooking something healthy but tasty together. Home baking not only provides precious one-on-one time; it’s also likely to be more nourishing than demolishing a packet of chocolate eggs. Why not check out these Easter themed ideas here.
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