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Easter egg hunt etiquette for parents and children

Posted by Kristi Palma  March 22, 2013 09:50 AM

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Boston Globe staff photo by John Tlumacki

Kids race for eggs at the Annual Spring Egg Hunt at DCR Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester last year.

It's that time of year again.
Children are turning out in droves with their baskets poised to hunt for Easter eggs. But this traditional holiday event has turned ugly in some places in recent years. ABC News reported that many hunts were canceled last year because of aggressive parents.
So we asked Janet Parnes, a local etiquette expert, for some egg hunt etiquette tips for both parents and kids. She was kind enough to draw up some guidelines for us to share with our readers.
Here you go!

Parnes gives these tips:

Hunts that include older children and toddlers:
There are Easter egg hunt aficionados who suggest forming separate hunting areas, one for the little children and another for the toddlers. Others suggest coloring the eggs for the two groups differently, say yellow for the toddles and green for the older children. I consulted a friend who ran Easter egg hunts for her church for years. She found that when she established sections, the older children become so excited they tended to stray beyond their boundaries and raid the toddlers’ section. She also found that the older children forgot that the yellow eggs are for the little ones and scooped up whatever eggs they found. She discovered the best solution was to divide the number of eggs (roughly) by the number of children; then tell each child he/she can collect no more than a certain number eggs. After everyone returned with their baskets, the older children would go back out to sweep the area, picking up remaining eggs. This way the little ones didn’t lose out.

Saving Easter outfits:
If your children are dressed up and you want to preserve their clothes for Easter dinner with grandma, bring play clothes for the hunt.

If there are small children (who are likely to put whatever they find in their mouths) be sure the Easter eggs are not choking hazards. If you are using plastic eggs, keep this in mind when selecting fillings for them.

Considerate children:
Everyone wants to collect as many eggs as possible, but it is important that consideration and kindness are also at play. Remind children that when we are kind to each other everyone can have fun. For example, rather than grabbing, if your child sees another child reach for the same egg, take this opportunity to be generous. And if your child sees another child having trouble finding eggs, here is a chance to show a big heart and give a helping hand. Also, teach your children to be proud of the eggs she collected but not to gloat. Be happy and praise others with fewer eggs. After all, the point of an Easter egg hunt is to have fun!

Follow the rules:
Speak to your children about the importance of rules. As with the rules of games like Candy Land or soccer, they ensure that everyone has a fair chance.

Hunts are for kids!
Parents, unless your child needs your assistance (as in the case of a toddler) at the word “Go,” let them run! Your job is to stay behind and watch the fun.

Spectator etiquette:
Parents, enjoy the hunt as polite spectators; Don‘t call out to your children, point out nearby eggs, etc. Allow your child the satisfaction of filling the basket himself!

Photo opp:
Parents surely want pictures for the family album. But take them from the sidelines, so as to stay out of the way. If there is no way to photograph your child from afar, find an opportunity after the hunt is over. Cute-photograph opportunities will be plentiful!

Looking for a local egg hunt? Here is a list.

Did you snap photos of your child at an egg hunt? We want to see them! Share your Easter egg hunt photos here.

Happy Easter!

About Parent Buzz

Welcome to Parent Buzz, where you can read about and discuss the hot parenting issues of the day, find family-friendly events in Boston and beyond, and get parenting tidbits and tips.

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Kristi Palma, Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.
Jennifer Clark Estes is a teacher, writer, blogger, and the mother of four young children. In her free time, she blogs at A Mom's World, plays with the kids (or chauffeurs them around), and is desperately seeking a quiet spot so she can read a book. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferCEstes.

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