There was a meme going around the other day that said something like “ I may be grown up but if I don’t get a chocolate egg this year parents, there will be trouble” (or something like that). Having teen-aged kids can make these celebrations a little harder to facilitate, if you are like my family and have no buy in to the religious association. The cynical teenager is never going to buy into the giant rabbit with the stealth of Spiderman, who leaves chocolate eggs hiding around the place for them to find. I mean, they might get as far as the Spiderman bit, but unless EB (Easter Bunny) joins either the Marvel or DC world, there is no chance for him, or us!
The fact remains though that they, the teens in our lives, still appreciate chocolate - I mean who doesn’t! It is chocolate. So how can you get them engaged if they are too old to believe in the mythical, but super hero, EB, but also too young for drinking games? Well a few years ago I introduced Chocolate Jenga.
Contrary to those who criticise me for my lack of religious notions, bringing the family together is very important to me. I say this as I have often had to defend myself for not celebrating the religious relevance, as well as the commercial worship, of holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Not being religious does not mean that the concept of family is not important to me. I actively try to find ways to engage my almost adults in fun, family orientated activities that celebrate the event at hand without having to be dictated to by the other major players in the game. And it has resulted in some pretty awesome family traditions.
So, how to bring the family together for Easter? No hope in getting teens to actually leave their rooms to go ‘outside’ (read with the scorn and whine in the voice that would be saying that word) to find eggs. The enthusiasm to eat chocolate is not reflected in their willingness to do anything to get said chocolate. Unless you play jenga. This is our new family tradition!
Grab yourself a few packets (the more the merrier) of Kit-Kats, Twirls or if the finances allow a shit tonne of Violet Crumble bars! Traditional jenga requires 54 blocks, but try and at least get 30 so it is fun. Then bellow and beg everyone to sit around the table (turn the wifi off is a certain way to extract from bedrooms), then get them to stack the chocolate bars as if they were jenga blocks. They each have to place a block one at a time, alternating between them. This is the engagement stage, the bit that refocuses their attention away from the fact you have dragged them away from that really important thing they were doing…
Once the chocolate tower is built then standard rules apply: each teen takes it in turn to remove a ‘block’ and place on top of the tower. The tower will eventually fall and chocolate is evenly distributed. Lots of laughs will ensue, which is the point. Being a house of smart-aleck boys, there is a great deal of jibing and table wobbling antics but it is all in fun. A game can last longer than an egg hunt! And most importantly we all get to eat chocolate. The discussion of whether EB would be Marvel or DC also resulted in an hour long conversation that I regretted starting.
What do you do to make Easter egg-gaging for your teens? If you find that it has become something of a non-event or just relies on “here, have a chocolate egg and some new PJs”, then maybe you could try something a little more fun. It might not be a day long activity but with teens it is always quality over quantity.
For more chats about raising teens, check out Talking Teens website www.talkingteens.com.au
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