I really do love getting into the spirit of Christmas. Children are so excited by the magic and mystery that comes with celebrating. The tree, the presents, the visitors! How old were you when you discovered that Santa was not real? I can still remember so vividly around the age of 10 realising that Santa had the same handwriting as my mum! I am big believer in keeping children little for as long as possible, and that means keeping the magic of Santa and his elves alive for as long as possible.
Added to that, is the gorgeous and fun little “Elf on the shelf”- see image below as Team Davies gets in on the fun!
Something that constantly surprises me though is just how many people are still using Santa or the magic elves as a parenting tool to get through the busiest and most stressful time for families.
I have heard people say:
“The elves are watching to see if you are good or naughty.”
“You won’t get any presents if you are not good!”
“Santa will not come if you don’t get into bed.”
It is very easy to fall in to the trap of using bribes, threats and consequences to get our children to behave- but what happens after Christmas when the elves are packed up and the Christmas tree is pulled down and put back in the garage? Consequential parenting is like a bandaid, it only works short term.
The very real truth is – Santa will be coming no matter how your children behave, and so, using this as a threat is absolutely pointless and will not have any affect on your child’s behaviour long term.
So, what can we do instead I hear you ask?
Just have fun with it! The elves in our home come alive with MAGIC on December the 1st when the Christmas tree is put up. Each night before the kids go to bed they place their elf on the tree. Later that night my hubby and I have fun hiding the elves around our home. That’s it! It is never linked to their behaviour or told that good things wont come their way if they don’t behave. They absolutely love it. They are still talking about finding their elves in the fridge last year. So many people are seriously over thinking and complicating this gorgeous family ritual.
Keep it simple people!
Don’t throw Santa under the bus this Christmas!
Poor old Santa – he really does cop it doesn’t he? When we parent using consequences and bribes it doesn’t really teach our kids how to behave because they just want to be good kids- and that is our main aim!
Focus on the positive and all the things your kids are doing right! Also, be very mindful of having realistic expectations around your kids having an understanding of gratitude and appreciation. Their brains aren’t fully developed enough yet to understand these concepts.
Flip the script! Try saying things like:
“Wow! Santa will be so proud of the way you are being kind to your sister!”
“You are so helpful. Santa loves great helpers – he has lots of amazing elves who help him get everything ready for Christmas!”
“When you have finished packing up your toys, then we can read your Christmas story together in bed.”
Don’t those phrases just feel much ‘kinder’ than constantly threatening to remove things or punish your children?
They certainly do to me!
Love Chrissie x x x
“Creating a whole new generation of emotionally healthy families and classrooms”
Chrissie's strategies work. I could go on about how much changed within our home but I'd need to write an essay. Thanks Chrissie for helping restore some peace back into our family.
Chaos to Calm Consultancy would like to acknowledge the Wadawarrung people of the Kulin Nation. We acknowledge the elders past, present and emerging -particularly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents who walked before us supporting and connecting their children to the earth, water and community. Always was. Always will be.