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Is the Easter bunny real? How to answer your child

Lisa Steinke, with Liz Fenton, is the co-author of the debut chick lit novel l'll Have Who She's Having and the popular Chick Lit blog chicklitisnotdead.com.

Tricky questions your child will ask

Is the Easter bunny real? It's the question right behind Santa Claus as something parents don't want to think about answering. But the time will come when you'll be faced with it.

If you're getting nervous this could be your last Easter without any skepticism from your child, it could be time to start preparing yourself. Read on for tips on how to handle the Easter bunny question from your child.

Don't make it about you

Sure, it's hard to see your child growing up. The big Easter bunny question definitely signals a transition. But letting your judgment be clouded by wanting your little one to stay, well, little, can get in the way of the bigger picture. If your instinct is to tell your child yes, the bunny is real because you don't want her to grow up, take a step back and think about this. She can't stay young forever, and these seminal moments are opportunities for you to help your children take steps toward adolescence in an honest way. Speaking of honest...

Honesty is the best policy

Your instinct might be to keep the belief alive — at least for another year, right?

Well, your child has probably already heard something from kids at school and is just seeking you out to verify the news. If you tell your son or daughter the bunny is real, you're just temporarily postponing the inevitable.

More importantly, this is possibly a test. You've spent hours lecturing them about always telling the truth, and now they are giving you the chance to do the same.

But, a white lie is OK sometimes

If your child isn't ready to find out the cold hard truth about our furry friend, you'll be able to tell. He'll probably ask the question like, "The Easter bunny is real, right, Mom?" Oftentimes this will be the first "check in" about something your child still wants to believe in. And if your instinct is your child doesn't really want the news, it's OK to tell a little white lie, and let her keep believing. When your child is ready for the facts, you'll be able to tell by the way she asks. It will be more direct and more persistent.

Soften the blow

If you have younger children who still believe, invite the older child into the "adult club." Tell her she's now part of keeping the Easter bunny secret for her younger siblings. Reinforce how important this is for the younger kids and how this is a big responsibility for her. This will help her manage her feelings about the news she's just heard. She'll feel excited to be part of the joy of keeping the magic alive for others.

Trust your gut

If you're not sure whether it's time to reveal the news, don't Google, don't ask around — just trust yourself. You'll know when it's time and what needs to be said.

Don't forget

Remember there's not an adult on the planet who still believes, so obviously we all had to find out at some point. And we all survived!

More Easter fun

Best books about Easter for kids
Easter egg hunt ideas you haven't thought about
Easter party crafts for kids

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