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Every Home Needs a Kindness Elf


You may, or may not, have heard of the "Elf on the Shelf" tradition. I only discovered it myself last night as I came across something a friend had shared on social media. The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, to give it it's full title, is a 2005 children's picture book, written and self-published by American author Carol Aebersold and daughter Chanda Bell.

The book tells the story of how Santa's "scout elves" hide in people's homes to watch over events. Once everyone goes to bed, the scout elf flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa the activities, both good and bad, that have taken place throughout the day. Before the family wakes up each morning, the scout elf flies back from the North Pole and hides. By hiding in a new spot each morning around the house, the scout elf and the family play an on-going game of hide and seek.

I loved this idea, as a parent we're now into that time of year where bad behaviour is always greeted with "don't forget Father Christmas/Santa is watching and you won't get any presents if you're bad/naughty/don't eat your dinner/don't go to sleep...", so a magic elf who reports back sounded ideal. But then I started to think, perhaps that's a bit mean? And maybe we shouldn't be teaching children that good behaviour gets rewards in terms of presents but instead just to be kind and helpful and do nice things for others?

Coincidentally, as I was mulling this over, I noticed one of those 'more links mentioning elves' things that Facebook has underneath items in your newsfeed and it said "Kindness Elves". The Kindness Elves are a spin of the Elf on the Shelf tradition and were devised for parents who don't subscribe to the "someone is watching you" school to see if you are behaving, rather than believing that children must choose the right way. Some people are even combining the two traditions and getting their Kindness Elf to teach their Elf on the Shelf how to spread kindness and love. How cool is that?

Kindness Elves can suggest doing things such as baking cookies for the neighbours, donating some toys to the children's ward at the local hospital or visiting and elderly friend/neighbour, whatever you can think of – be as creative as you like! I just love the idea of helping our children learn that being kind and loving, generous and caring, is the best way to live your life in order to be happier and make others happy too. Using a fun and creative way to do this, allowing their imaginations to run away with them will also help them embrace it.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we're big advocates of random acts of kindness here at Practically Positive and this is a great way of introducing them to our little ones.

Why not try these tips to help you introduce kindness elves to your home:

1. Give your Kindness Elves some names, then write a wish list together of all the kind things you can do for others, including at home, with family, friends, teachers, local charities, animals, and those in need. (This list, generated by the children, should obviously influence what you choose to do next. The following are simply some ideas to get you started).

2. Fill a jar with notes of the "20 things I love about you" and give it as the ultimate gift to cheer someone up.

3. Collect toys that are no longer played with and donate them to a charity shop or children's ward at a local hospital or refuge centre. Your Kindness Elves can set a very good example by donating some of their tiny elf toys too – if you can find some tiny things!

4. Take a home-baked gift to the neighbours.

5. Make a list of everything you're grateful for and stick it onto a happy/ thankful tree.

If you need some more ideas of acts of kindness your kindness elves can suggest you can find some here.

If you're thinking of taking up this tradition, we'd really love to hear about your elves and how they get on with your children, so please do share with us on our social media channels.

Well being


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