Many thanks to Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions for sharing her thoughts on bringing the fun back to The Elf on The Shelf.

Elf on the Shelf has become a fun and humorous holiday tradition for many families … but beware of some unintended consequences!

Every morning, your Elf appears in different poses and places, with a leprechaun sense of mobility and mischief. Whether hanging precariously over an attempt at the cookie jar or just hanging a new ornament on the tree, there is no end to the creativity the Elf can bring.

But, here’s the problem… In the original story, the Elf is designed to spy on kids and report their behavior back to Santa!

For just a minute … put yourself in your child’s shoes.









Knowing that Santa’s Elves (or the latest fake “Santa Cam”) are constantly watching over them can create discouragement and anxiety for kids – especially for those who struggle with impulse control or who have difficulty making good choices.

Most kids’ brains and bodies act long before considering what the Elf may be reporting to Santa.

If your Elf is used to coax better behavior, it’s time to rethink his purpose and consider more effective ways to prompt cooperation—especially around the hectic, high-stakes holiday season.

This year, let’s ditch the Elf’s backstory as Santa’s snitch and use him just for FUN! And instead, let’s implement these ten strategies that will actually improve your child’s behavior—this season and beyond

Amy McCready is the founder of You can learn more from Amy in her strategy-packed FREE class: Get Kids to Listen without Nagging, Yelling or Losing Control