After all, the fear of them reporting any mischief to Santa is a risk our little ones are always much too scared to take.
But while we always like to make the most of the peace and quiet in December, parenting expert Emma Shingleton says this approach could actually be having a detrimental effect on our kids.
The former primary school teacher – who has partnered with education resource experts PlanBee – says some children can find the prospect of being watched by Santa’s spies stressful.
She explained: “Typically, we often find smaller, more manageable goals easier to achieve. The same goes for children; asking them to be ‘good’ every moment of every day in December can feel overwhelming.
“Do we really want our children thinking they’re being watched every moment of the day by these festive home invaders! Could the expectation be setting some children up to fail?”
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What’s more, Emma says parents might feel more pressured to fall through with greater punishments – such as taking away presents – as the cheeky Elf has witnessed the bad behaviour.
If that wasn’t enough, the expert said the naughtier elves could be setting a bad example for kids too and recommended mixing up their mischief with some role model-worthy antics.
She continued: “Instead of a naughty elf, what about a helpful elf? Explain to your children that Santa’s elf has been sent to homes to help them in the run-up to Christmas.
“They love to see children spreading kindness and joy, and then make the journey back to the North Pole each night to tell Santa all the lovely things children have been up to.
“Try to focus on positive behaviour instead of negative and allow children space to make better choices.”
Still unconvinced? The expert recommends getting your kids to “teach” the elves new skills – such as making the bed or loading the dishwasher – and they’ll delight in seeing their hilarious mistakes.
Examples of ‘helpful’ Elves on the Shelf:
Elves could be seen:
● taking a bath
● doing the washing up
● making friends with toys and having a tea party
● putting decorations on the christmas tree
● watering the plants
● reading a story to other toys and teddies
● making the bed
● tidying toys
● getting dressed
● giving something away
● helping to fill a shoebox to send to a child in need
● helping toys cross the hallway
● Choosing some toys/clothes to give to charity
Emma added: “As any teacher will tell you, more than anything else children love becoming the teacher themselves. Perhaps your elf visitor needs to be taught how to do some helpful jobs around the house; the children could teach them, or even learn alongside their elf companion.
“The elf could be seen making funny mistakes around the home, which children need to help them correct. Maybe he can’t reach the soap to wash his hands and needs to be shown how to do it correctly.
“Why not steer your elf away from naughty antics and focus on helpful gestures instead? Get the elves to model the behaviour you want to see, rather than the behaviour you are trying to discourage.”
For more parenting stories, ‘cruel’ parents accused of ‘traumatising’ kids after surprise visit from The Grinch left them terrified.
And this mum shared the easy way she shops for shoes WITHOUT having to take the squirming kids along.
Plus this mum shared the cheeky way she keeps her kids in check in the run up to Christmas and it’s thanks to a VERY modern Santa.