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Who doesn’t love Elf on the Shelf? The mischievous little fellow who encourages good behaviour as Christmas excitement reaches fever pitch: the elves report back to Santa each night on whether children have been naughty or nice.
Your children may ‘behave’ while Santa's elf is keeping an eye on them, especially as it will result in presents as a reward for good behaviour. But what happens when your elf returns to Santa's workshop and is no longer keeping a beady eye on what your child is up to?
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? If children don’t succeed, parents may even feel they need to follow through with sanctions such as removing presents.
Parents can be forgiven for wanting children to be excited in the run up to Christmas, creating little scenes in which elves get up to mischief. Youngsters across the country wake up to find their cheeky little elf has been up to no good, delving into the biscuit jar (strictly forbidden!), leaving a crumbly mess, or rolling down the stairs encased in a wayward roll of toilet paper. But are these naughty elves sending the right message? Or are they encouraging the exact kinds of behaviour parents are actually wanting to avoid?
Of course, I’m not suggesting parents scrap the tradition all together - where’s the fun in that? Instead, we have come up with some alternative ways to enjoy the popular tradition - by modelling behaviour you would like to see and supporting children to make good choices.
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.
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.
Elves could be seen:
The possibilities are endless, and encourage children to choose to do good because they want to, and not because they will get a reward at the end.
Check out our 25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas here!
Purchased The Titanic
Great resources and saves time spent on planning.
I decided to do about a Scottish mountain with the class for the tourist part (get them excited about sonewhere to go in the uk!!)
So pleased it was mentioned in the unit
As a Scot who has lived in England for 23 years, it’s made me very happy!
Just great visuals and info
We are so glad that you have enjoyed using the resources, Louise (we hope your class did too!). Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review :-)
Just gives key information in accessible way.
You're welcome, Tricia - we're so pleased to hear that you found this resource helpful!
Excellent to help KS1 with tricky words and spelling.
We're so pleased to hear that this resource has been useful to you, Zafiro!
Unfortunately the 10% discount code never arrived in the email.
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