Naughty and nice. Good and bad. Presents and coal. Christmas is the time of year when kids’ behaviour is thrown into the spotlight. Santa sends out the Elves to keep an eye on children, to report back on those who have been well behaved, and those who haven’t…. The introduction of Elf on the Shelf has been hugely popular and gives parents a creative tool to help expand the magic of Christmas. In essence, one can promote positive behaviour with Elf on the Shelf.
Promoting positive behaviours with Elf on the Shelf
Lots of cheeky antics are often discovered by children, who are in awe of what their elf/elves and their friendly pets have been up too while they have been asleep. The general theme that is usually followed is of elves that are misbehaving, and the hope is that children would see this as behaviour to avoid. However, in our household, the theme is a bit different. Our elves are used as messengers of valuable instructions, straight from the mouth of Santa himself. The instructions are given as lessons, or reminders, of positive conduct. Essentially, our Elf is used entirely as a tool to promote good etiquette.
The first year we had our Elf, Benjamin, our eldest child was two. Some of the topics we explored were hand washing, teeth cleaning and being sun safe. These were tailored to what was going on in our lives and what areas we wanted him to become more self-sufficient in. The goal was to find topics that were age appropriate and suited to behaviours our child would be receptive to. As the years passed the themes have evolved. Then, after our second child was born, we realised we needed to pick topics that suited a broader range of ages, and that were not going to place unrealistic expectations on children of varied ages.
Most recently we’ve explored the topics of giving to others, turn taking and making healthy choices. We use good hygiene, being water wise, reduce, reuse and recycle, and basic safety topics regularly too. Each year comes with the challenge of finding themes that will suit our family and using our elf in different ways to help encourage the behaviours we want to see in our children. Using our Elf on the Shelf in this way shows our kids the behaviours that Santa deems to be good, instead of those that may put them on the naughty list. And we all love that!
This article was written by Romana Beaumont – a mum of two boys and wife of a wonderful man. She likes to read, cook and spend time with friends and family.
For more great Elf on the Shelf Ideas, check out these posts:
If your Elf on The Shelf forgets to move