How to use Elf on the Shelf to accomplish child behavior goals

As the holidays approach, many families will host an “Elf on the Shelf” that will supervise children and report to Santa about how they behaved.  Did you know that there’s a scientifically proven behavioral principle behind this?  It’s called reactivity.  It means that we behave differently when we know that someone is watching us.  Your Elf can help reduce problem behaviors and help your family have calmer, more pleasant routines.  

Here’s a tip that might help you get even better results from your Elf.  Focus on just one or two behavior goals.  Keep it simple.  For example; Johnny will clean up his toys each day before bedtime or Sally will brush her teeth for two minutes, twice a day.  Explain your expectations.  Ask them to report to the Elf each time they have completed their task.  The Elf may have a small board where your child can make a mark indicating they’ve completed their task.  Each morning, don’t forget to praise your child and say how proud Santa was to hear such wonderful news from your Elf.

Elf on the Shelf can help you use the principles of self-management and positive reinforcement to have a very pleasant holiday season.