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20th Nov 2023

Having an Elf on the Shelf can actually be bad for your kids

Kat O'Connor

Having an Elf on the Shelf isn’t so good after all.

The popular Christmas tradition is back to haunt us mums again and we’re just not ready for it.

Having to come up with new ideas every night is the bane of our existence.

We’re honestly tempted to leave him in the attic this year.

And we just might.

According to former primary school teacher Emma Shingleton, Elf on the Shelf can actually scare a lot of children.

She told The Sun that asking children “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?”

She also said it is important to remember that children are easily influenced. Seeing the elf get up to mischief might actually encourage them to do the same.

The parenting expert encouraged families to introduce a helpful elf rather than a naughty elf this year.

The elf can help the children practice kindness and be helpful.

Tell your children that when the elf goes “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,” she advised.

The ‘helpful elf’ could do things like decorating cookies, brushing their teeth, watering the flowers, buying a gift, or writing someone a nice card.

“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.”