With Spring fast approaching, it may be time to start thinking about what to say to your kids when they ask if the Easter Bunny is real. Parents, you do not have to lie to your kids. They will figure it out for themselves when the time is right. Although the Easter Bunny may be a mythical figure and is not actually “real,” it represents both a religious and secular way of helping children relate to and understand traditions through imagination and story telling.
According to sources, Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny first arrived in the US in the 1700’s from a tradition passed down by German immigrants. Rabbits and eggs are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life and both have relevance to the Spring season and Easter as a religious holiday. Additionally, the Easter Bunny is a parable that represents the importance of children exhibiting good behavior and listening to their parents and being rewarded for doing so.
So back to answering that loaded question about whether the Easter Bunny is actually delivering Easter baskets on Easter morning. First, I would develop a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to this topic. As long as they are not questioning it there is no need to rain on that parade. Let your child live without having to consider this for as long as possible. There are so many other more harsh realities that they have to work through every day. No need to add to it.
However, when your child approaches you and asks, it is more than appropriate to answer. I believe what they are really wanting to know is if they have permission to be innocent for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, society, and especially other children these days, will answer that question long before we do as parents. That is why I firmly believe that parents need to act in the child’s best interest when deciding how to address it. There is nothing wrong with helping your child come to his or her own conclusions. Ask your child if there is a reason for his or her question. Have them think about their own thoughts and feelings and have them express to you what those are. You might even tell him or her that some people believe and some people do not. This would also be a great opportunity to talk about your own personal beliefs about faith and spirituality, if this applies to your family.
More than anything else, do not ruin the fun and enjoyment children receive from imagining and believing in what adults cannot. If you haven’t yet read The Polar Express together with your kids, I strongly recommend that you do. It will help you understand how different adults and children are as far as believing. It is a wonderful story about growing up not losing sight of faith and childhood innocence. I still remember to this day my mom reading it to me and crying at the very end of the story.
Parents, help your kids wonder and have faith in what they believe… even if it is the Easter Bunny.