If I told you that there's a bloke watching you AT ALL TIMES to make sure you were doing everything perfectly, you'd be pretty freaked out. If I added that he's also put a camera in your lounge so he can check in - I can't image you'd be cool about it. Sadly - this has become the reality for our children. "He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows then you're awake" was bad enough - but now there's that bloody elf on the shelf who's watching and reporting back. TO AN IMAGINARY MAN! Our poor kids are doomed.
Not only is this concept creepy and a lie - threatening our kids to 'behave or else' quite simply doesn't work. If it did - there'd be no behaviour issues.
Problem 1: You're ALWAYS going to give them presents on the day - so the threats are empty and after one Christmas, your child is going to work out that no matter how they behave they get gifts.
Problem 2: kids are kids - they CAN'T act perfectly like adults all day because their brains aren't developed enough.
Problem 3: Telling your child they're bad or going on the naughty list is doing nothing for their self worth. Kids who are told they're naughty misbehave more because they think that's just who they are.
WHAT YOU CAN DO INSTEAD:
1. Change your mindset. You want your child to learn to behave because it's the right thing to do, not so that they get presents. You also want behaviour management strategies that work all year long, not just for Christmas.
2. Use way more positive reinforcement. Look for any opportunity to praise something that they're doing to make them FEEL GOOD when they behave.
3. Set your boundaries calmly and tell them what they SHOULD DO instead of what they shouldn't. "I can't let you do that, put the food you don't want on your plate. I'll help you."
4. Immediate consequences work better than long term consequences like Santa not coming. If your child hits, say "i can't let you hit your brother because it hurts, I'll help you to move away and have some quiet time".
5. Try a token reward system like a small sticker chart. Remember to never take earned tokens away. 4-5 tokens = reward.