the elf on a shelf: a great way to get your kids ready for xmas

What family traditions like writing to Santa do you hold in your family for the holidays?  Last year, I received this elf in the mail from my sister-in-law.  I had no clue what this  was all about. I read the little insert that came with the package and realized what a great tradition this could be to start with my kids!  It’s called the The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.

When we got our package, I opened the book and read it to my kids right away because they were so curious about who this elf was.  In the book, the authors (a mother and daughter team) write a few key tips for children to understand more about their behavior and how to control themselves and respecting their belongings.

Some helpful tips from the book:

  • I watch and report on all that you do. My job’s an assignment from Santa himself.  I am his helper, a friendly scout elf.” (This prepares children on why the elf has arrived and what his duty is…that if they don’t behave, he will report everything good and bad to Santa).
  •  Also in the book, children get to name their elf whatever name they want.  My kids named their elf “Jackson” (I know…a very interesting name, but they were adamant on naming him that).  Jackson the elf sits on our mantle and he watches my kids for when they are good or bad.
  • In the book, the authors suggest for the children to take care of themselves with tender love and care. “Please do not touch me. My magic might go, and Santa won’t hear all I’ve seen or I know.”  This teaches children to respect their belongings and take care of their elf.
  • The elf “moves” around when the children are asleep at night, he goes back to North Pole every night to report to Santa how the children behaved.  You are supposed to move your elf around your home, but I leave my elf on the mantle because he is in the center of our home and I tell my kids that he watches and hears them everywhere they go, so they better be on their best behavior. 🙂
  • I have been using Elf Jackson as a tool for my kids to stay in their room the whole night.  For the past 2 days, (don’t want to jinx it!) they have been sleeping through the night because they know Jackson will report back to Santa if they don’t.

I personally like this book a lot because you can mend the story the way you like and explain to your children your rules on behavior in your house.  It can also be a good book to read for even those who do not necessarily believe in Santa because the main focus is on behavior.

Happy Holidays and looking forward to hearing what holiday traditions you carry with your family! 

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