Encouraging good behavior after Elf on the Shelf heads back to the North Pole
He sits on the shelf, keeping a watchful eye over your house as Christmas approaches, reporting each day’s household behavior to Santa at night. He’s the Elf on the Shelf, and he seems like a parent’s dream for encouraging good behavior in the chaos before the holidays. Knowing their poor choices will be reported to the big guy up north and keep them off the good list, your kids will probably step up while the elf is perched on the mantle. But what happens when the elf heads back to the North Pole after Christmas?
While watching Elf on the Shelf’s antics and finding him in a new spot every morning can be a fun family activity, the elf’s unfortunately not a long-term solution to reinforcing good behavior in our kids. It seems like a great help during the holiday season – just like the age-old threat of “Santa is watching!” – but kids are quick to revert to their old ways once the reward of presents is removed. And would you really withhold that new scooter or train set on Christmas morning because the Elf spied your daughter sweeping cookie crumbs under the rug?
It is possible to help improve your kids’ behavior through the anticipation of Christmas and even beyond, even without Elf on the Shelf. Here are some tips and tools to help your kids be their best throughout the year:
Do I really need new brakes? Will replacing the roof really cost that much? When we find ourselves asking these questions, many of us don’t hesitate to ask another mechanic or get a second contractor to give an estimate. But when it comes to health care – especially dental care – we don’t typically seek second opinions.
About 70 percent of Americans would ask for a second opinion on a home repair or improvement, and more than 50 percent would seek a second opinion for a car repair, according to a recent poll by Harris Interactive, an independent research firm. As for medical procedures? Only 17 percent have sought a second opinion.
With the weather turning and sniffles coming, there’s bound to be some indoor play in your future. But kids staying cooped up all day can create chaos of a different kind. We all know they need to exercise and release energy (preschoolers need 90-120 minutes a day), no matter what the elements are doing outside.
Here are some fun, creative ways to exert energy indoors. This will challenge their minds and bodies – and make them tired enough for bedtime.
You’ve put the finishing touches on the kids’ Halloween costumes. Pumpkins have been transformed into jack-o’-lanterns. And you’ve stocked up on an absurd amount of candy for the hordes of trick-or-treaters about to descend upon your front door. But before you officially kick off your Halloween celebration, Parenting Expert Amy McCready has a few do’s and don’ts for you…some serious and some spookily fun.
Unhelpful things that well-meaning parents say
Your child’s crumpled into a ball in the living room, sobbing over a newly broken toy. You jump into action to quell the crying and help him feel better – but will your words actually help?
As much as parents would like to consider ourselves fonts of unending wisdom, we can say some pretty unhelpful things at times. These aren’t necessarily things said in the midst of a late-afternoon tantrum or a middle-of-the-store meltdown, but things we say to comfort our kids with the best intentions of helping them.
So, the next time these words are on the tip of your tongue, take a second and look for a different way to approach the situation:
Weight Stigma Awareness Week
“I never talked about weight in the household. We just started making changes in a way that didn’t….make them feel bad about themselves.”
This was Michelle Obama on the media circuit in March discussing how she avoids the topic of weight with her daughters in favor of emphasizing healthy habits. While I agree wholeheartedly with the first lady’s approach, there is another part of the weight story that shouldn’t remain silent.
What better time than Weight Stigma Awareness Week (September 23-27) to spur a different, but much-needed conversation about weight and children. Whether parents realize it or not, weight stigma is a huge problem in this country and it’s affecting the way children treat each other, how adults interact with children, and the future well being of children.