Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Looking for Kindness with Elf on the Shelf

Are you ready for Elf on the Shelf with a twist? Help your Elf on the Shelf find a new focus this holiday season! 

If you have never heard of Elf on the Shelf, click the photo above to find out more information.  Our family adopted an Elf, Speedy, several years ago from Target.  I love family traditions and thought this was just adorable!  This cute little guy visits your family every year and gives nightly reports to Santa about how everyone is behaving.  Who wouldn't LOVE a visit from one of Santa's little helpers throughout the Christmas season, right? 

Cute as he is, after a little elf reflection I realized I was missing a great opportunity!  I was using Speedy to try to control my children's behavior and making threats like, "Speedy's watching" or "What will Speedy tell Santa tonight?"  My focus was all wrong! 
At the suggestion of my friends from Conscious Discipline I am going to try something new this year!  We are going to help our elf harness his Power of Attention and learn to focus on kindness!  Now he can be a teaching tool!  He is going to help us retrain our eyes to see the helpfulness in others and focus on the positive behaviors we want to encourage.  Perhaps you'll join me? 

Here are a few ideas on how the Elf on the Shelf tradition be tweaked to focus on helpfulness:

1. Read the book Shubert Sees the Best with your class or family.

2. Present each child with his/her own pair of heart shaped glasses to decorate. (We have a FREE printable on the Conscious Discipline website.)

3. Everyone color and decorate their own pair of heart-shaped glasses just like Shubert's!

4. Once decorated, everyone put the glasses on and have a class or family meeting to talk about what acts of kindness they might see at home or school.

5. Tell the children that the Elf on the Shelf will be seeing the best in others too! Make sure your elf is wearing his very own pair of heart shaped glasses everyday that he visits!

6. Create a bulletin board (school) or poster board (home) titled, “(Elf’s Name) _____ Helps Us See the Best! Cut snowflake shapes out of construction paper and put them in a basket near the board. Explain that when somebody notices someone being helpful or kind, they can write that person’s name on a snowflake and tape it to the board.  Make sure the Elf on the Shelf is adding snowflakes to the bulletin board!

7. Have the Elf leave little notes that contain encouraging words and notices helpfulness: “You _____ (describe what the child did) so (describe how it contributed to others). That was helpful!

You clean up the race cars so we wouldn't fall. That was helpful!

You reminded your Mom to put on her seatbelt so she would be safe. That was helpful!

You raised your hand quietly so others can learn. That was helpful!
8. Have your elf surprise people with Random Acts of Kindness around the classroom or home.  For example, he could make someone's bed or pick up trash.  Leave the elf on the bed or near the trash can when the job is done.  Explain to the children that when the elf has RAK'ed you, it is your turn to look for a way to RAK someone else.  The elf gets passed along as a symbol of  the kindness that has been done.  (The recipient could also complete the steps described in #6 above.) 
I hope you find these ideas helpful as you look for kindness this holiday season!  Seek and you will find--the TRUE meaning of Christmas--love!
For more ideas about how to focus on kindness this holiday season read my post over at  "PreK and K Sharing".  Trust me, it's a sweet idea!
#iheartcd  #elfontheshelf  #SEL