Are we giving our children the wrong kinds of gifts?

Are we giving our children the wrong kinds of gifts?

Kids love chocolate. And kids love toys. It’s no stretch that they love Easter.

I remember waking up as a child to a basket full of a cheap, waxy, chocolate flavored rabbit and a pile of eggs… same substance, different foil coated form. And I’d always get some plastic thing, like a pinwheel or a Velcro ball set. I’d make it most of the way through the giant “chocolate” bunny ears first and then go play outside with my plastic thing. I’d continue to eat the eggs that I collected for the rest of the week (or month) but the plastic toy would be long retired after Easter morning. Maybe it broke. More likely, it was a novelty that wasn’t meant to last more than a few tosses.

As parents, we try to replicate our childhoods. Those dear times of tummy upset and fleeting toy joy.

We shouldn’t.

It took me almost an hour to find a chocolate bunny. A small rabbit made of good quality dark chocolate and real ingredients. It was tiny and expensive. I know, for the same price, I could have bought pounds of wax laced with trans fat, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavoring. I could raise my kids to believe this stuff was chocolate.

I think there in lies the problem with us. We are at a health crisis and an environmental crisis. Kids don’t need more plastic crap or poisonous food. Kids ingest a great deal of food in relation to their size. They are also forming the bodies that they will live in for the rest of their lives. Why build that body with garbage?

You probably wouldn’t feel comfortable moisturizing your face with a super low quality chemically produced lotion. “Milk chocolate” is the equivalent of Best Western floral scented body lotion. Only it’s going IN your kids.

It all starts from a young age. In order to “make sure that toddlers are getting enough calories” people have a constant supply of high calorie, low nutrient junk pumped into their kids. I realize that wee ones need to eat more often and benefit from more robust physiques, but we don’t have a problem with underweight children in Canada. There is no need to sacrifice good health to “fatten” kids up. The data proves that they will do that all on their own living in our obeseogenic society. We are just giving them a head start. Gold fish crackers for a treat? Sure. A constant supply of highly processed, artificially flavored crackers in a snack cup tied to their arm lest they become famished between meals? Probably not so good.

We have a strange belief that children cannot live for minutes without juice, milk or snacks.

And those toys? Who deals with them on April 2nd? No one. They will eventually become your kid’s problem.

Instead of buying kids loads of junk sweets and toys, why not get them a small amount of quality things?

You know that sweater that you just love? Maybe you got it traveling; maybe from a local artisan. You know it though, it’s quality, you appreciate it, you take care of it. What if Zellers started producing a replica, and your friends all rushed out to get you one on your next birthday? I can bet your love would quickly fade with it lost in a closet full of knock offs. Isn’t it time we start teaching our children to respect and appreciate what they have? Isn’t that the best present you could give them? An appreciation for the finer things in life means happiness. Teaching them to hoard junk into their bodies and lives is a certain recipe for a lifetime of unhappiness. Shop wisely.

Do I have a bag full of junk in my cupboard from Easter anyways? Yes. Kids are going to get, and eat, junk. I don’t restrict it, and I believe doing so sets kids up to feel it’s special. I feel like the best way is to change my behaviors and spending habits. In a perfect world on Easter morning, the chocolate would be gone by noon and they toys would be played with for years.

What are your thoughts?

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