How to teach your children the TRUE meaning of Easter & STILL have fun!
Easter egg hunts, stuffed bunny rabbits, Peter Rabbit, jelly beans, chocolate shaped bunnies, caramel filled chocolate eggs, marshmallow bunnies, Easter baskets, coloring Easter eggs: these are just a few of the things that come to mind when we think of Easter or at least when you ask most kids.
As parents, we are all guilty of feeling overwhelmed between how we can teach our children about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and balancing that with the excitement of the arrival of the Easter Bunny this time of year. Where do we draw the line? How do we get our children to realize that Easter isn’t just about the candy and toys and egg hunts?
Setting the tone for the Atonement
When you come from a large family like I do, my mom had to get pretty creative when it came to teaching all of us how to separate the Easter bunny from the Atonement.
Here are some tips I got from my Mom while growing up:
The true meaning of Easter is about the Resurrection and Atonement of Jesus Christ. Although the arrival of the Easter Bunny may seem exciting, our hearts and home should be focused on what our Savior Jesus Christ did and what it means to us.
She would sometimes have the Easter Bunny arrive Saturday morning instead of Sunday for a twofold purpose:
It helped us to separate in our minds that the arrival of the Easter Bunny was in no way related to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Since we usually attended church on Sundays it prevented us from being too wired on candy and better able to sit through service and get something out of it for that matter.
There were occasional Easter Sundays that we stayed in our Sunday best dress all day to help keep us in the attitude of remembering our Savior. Some families do this every Sunday to help remind them to keep the Sabbath day holy all day long.
Play Music while making memories
Music always played a big part of my childhood. We sang together a lot. When you grow up in a small town and can’t afford to do much of anything you find ways to occupy your time. So we sang and we focused on the Savior and found ways to worship him through music. It helped bring peace into our home. In fact, I used to annoy my family whenever my siblings started to argue, I would play and sing loudly the hymn “Where can I turn for peace” on the piano. It irritated them but they stopped fighting!
Twelve Days of Easter
Other ideas you may want to try is placing pictures of Christ in your home before and right after Easter. I prefer to keep them up all year to remind us that we want to always be like him and act like we would if he was in our presence always. Many families also study the life of Christ leading up to Easter Sunday a few weeks before Easter. You choose the length of time that is fitting for your beliefs, and/or children’s attention span.
My favorite artist rendering of Christ is by Greg Olson. He captures such an amazing softness and peace that just feels so inviting when you gaze at his artwork. I hope to someday collect his artwork throughout my home. You don’t have to buy an expensive oil painting to display, you can get inexpensive prints at most any Christian bookstore or on Amazon, I have small cards I keep on my fridge too.
All in all just remember that kids will be kids, and of course, they will be more worked up about the toys and the sugar rush that will soon ensue. However, don’t lose heart. I know my Mom did her best to teach us the gospel and I remember the spirit in which it was taught more than what I got in my Easter basket. Your kids will too!