Monday, December 3, 2012

A little Christmas Visitor

So, I think I may be the ONLY mom in America that has not given her kids an Elf on the Shelf. After teaching Discipline Without Stress and watching kids shine while taking ownership of their own behavior, I just can't bring myself to tell my kids that they need to be good for presents. I am not judging if you if you chose to half an Elf in your house, it is just not for me. :) The idea is that the Elf will report each night to Santa on the kids behavior that day. I would much rather see my kids make the right choices because it is the right thing to do, not out of fear of disappointing Santa.

 I do however, LOVE the idea of the kids waking up each day to see their little Elfy friend. I am terrified of  the day that Ella or Olivia come home from school and ask why Santa's Elf does not visit our house. I never thought I would feel mommy guilt related to a little Elf doll, but here we have it. :) I can't deprive my kids, right?

Have no fear.... I have an idea! This one is great! Instead of a little Elf that tells Santa each night, I want my kids to focus on the meaning of Christmas and Advent. Sooooo my kids will be visited by a sweet little Angel. We could call him Gabriel. :) This little Angel will show them the new Bible story and craft that goes along with their Jesse Tree each day. (If you missed the Advent Jesse Tree craft idea click here) It will also do some Random Acts of Kindness and maybe some silly things around the house too. It will give me an opportunity to teach the kids about angels and how they are always with us protecting us. He might even leave little notes about the love of Jesus for all of us!  I am excited to make a lasting joyful memory of Christmas for my little ones.

The angel has now visited us twice. The first day I left a trail from the bedroom down the stairs with ribbon. They found their Jesse Tree lit up with a little Angel beneath it. With the angel was a note explaining who she is why she is here.  They also found their children's bible and craft.  The girls were thrilled! They talked about it all day! They could not wait to look around the house this morning for the angel again.

Today I hid her in a different location with the bible and craft again.  I also included another note today. This note explained that she enjoyed being with them. Yesterday was a tough day in our house. While I was at church volunteering my husband had all three kids. My new little baby struggles when mommy is away because he does not like bottles. I knew it had been stressful for my husband and all of the kids, so I wrote about that in our letter. The angel told them "You were so sweet to Daddy and Eli yesterday when Eli was sad. Thank you for being kind to your family. It makes God happy to see you treat your family with kindness". Now, were my kids kind the WHOLE time? Absolutely not, in fact while the baby was crying they opened the front door and let the dog run down the street. My poor husband had to chase two kids and a dog while carrying a crying baby. But, focusing on what they did well makes them want to do better in the future.  A little empowerment and encouragement can go a long way.
Remember, if you are looking for a change in your child's behavior, especially a long-lasting change, fear or bribery will not do the trick. It may change the behavior temporarily but the behavior will return with a vengeance. Trust me I have tried these tactics with classrooms full of little ones. Instead, give them something positive to focus on like love and kindness. Teach them how to love one another and live out their faith and you will change their hearts forever. I went to visit my 2nd graders from last year and one of the little girls wrote me a letter. In the letter she told me how much she learned about how to treat her family and friends in our class last year. She wrote "Mrs. Copeland you will forever be my example of how to live my life".  I nearly cried right there in the cafeteria!! It all goes back to Have you Filled a Bucket Today. (If you missed that post click here.)
If you are interested in bringing an Advent Angel to your home I have a free download of the first letter from the Angel. here You can also use the template to create personalized letters for your kids based on the positive things that you see them do each day. 
 When you give kids something positive to focus on their behavior will change automatically. PROMISE!!

1 comment:

  1. I am not Catholic, but I grew up in a Christian home. I grew up with the Advent Angel. I actually found this blog when I was Googling the topic. I was curious if we were the only ones with this idea in our home. My Mom said she came up with it to help share the story and love of Jesus at Christmas with us, so we wouldn't as children throw all of our focus on Santa. It was to help add to Christmas. She would tell us that the Advent Angel would visit and help decorate and prepare for the birth of Jesus. I couldn't wait to wake up or even come home from school and look to see what the Advent Angel left for baby Jesus in the form of a Christmas decoration. Now that I'm an adult and have a 2 year old. I am in agreement with you regarding Elf on the shelf. I can't wait to introduce my daughter to the Advent Angel. I love my mom's idea, but I too wanted to tweak it to be like the Christian version basically of Elf on the shelf. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ideas you have of bible related crafts and many more. Thank you for sharing this and loving this idea as well.