Easter is here and, for many of us, this means an abundance of Easter eggs for our children. You already know that a seemingly never-ending stream of well-meaning family members and friends
will turn up over Easter and delightedly produce Easter eggs of differing shapes, sizes and colours for your child. Your child will be delighted, but you may well be less pleased. How on earth do you prevent your child from eating five Easter eggs before breakfast without prompting a meltdown?
If your child receives lots of chocolate at Easter and you don’t want them to scoff it all in one go, try to restrict your child’s access to their treats covertly. This may mean you keep the Easter eggs ‘safe’ and then you pre-portion the Easter treats for them, or that you create norms (one bit of Easter chocolate per day, or Easter eggs only after dinnertime). Doing this will stop you having to point blank refuse them the chocolate when they doubtless ask for it and it thereby helps to prevent chocolate from becoming prized or special. Food which seems special or restricted becomes more liked by children and, research shows, children are then much more likely to eat more of that special or restricted food at a later date.
Dr Emma Haycraft, a psychologist at Loughborough University and co-creator of the Child Feeding Guide says “we know that most children love chocolate and that Easter can present challenges for caregivers in terms of limiting their children’s intake. Trying to limit chocolate intake covertly – so that your child is not aware of this – is a really effective way of helping your child to eat healthily”.
Gaby Morris, co-managing director of Riverside Cares, adds “Easter is a perfect example of the challenge parents and childcarers face, it’s as much about educating relatives as it is about children. It’s tough telling people not to give chocolate eggs as a gift, but if truth be told, many children enjoy lots of other symbols of this festival just as much.
We find our ‘Feeding Children Well’ training days and parenting webinars always include questions about how to celebrate without having a good-eating-fail. We always include plenty more tips for feeding children so that you can maintain healthy eating habits throughout the year”.