Elf on the Shelf is a common way for parents to encourage kids to "be good" before Christmas. The threat is that if kids are "naughty" according to the Elf, there's a risk that presents might not come at Christmastime.
However, as many parents strive for more positive approaches to parenting, they're questioning whether there's a way to continue the Elf tradition they've used in years past---but spin it in a more positive way. As a conscious parenting writer and educator, I applaud that!
First, it's fine if he goes away. Every family celebrates differently. If your kids are attached to him, though, or if you want to proactively try a different approach, one possibility is to mark the change by including the Elf in the process!
One fun option is to share a letter from the Elf about what he's doing differently this year. It's a great way to balance a tradition (if it is one for your family) with a new spin that your child is sure to embrace.
This is ________, your Elf on the Shelf from last year. Do you remember me? I remember you! I really enjoyed surprising you by showing up in different places around the house every day. It was fun when you found me. You have such a wonderful smile and you smiled at me each time you discovered me.
I want you to know I'll still be around this year. Hooray!
One thing will be different, though. Last year, your Elf on the Shelf checked to see if you were being naughty or nice and reported back to the North Pole every night.
I've realized something since then, though. I know that like all kids, you're always doing the best you can. I appreciate that.
So, I won't be reporting anything back. Just keep being you; keep doing your best. You have a good heart.
And while you're doing your best to be YOU---because you're good enough exactly as you are---I'll be doing my best to surprise you!
Do you think you'll be able to find me? I'm going to be extra tricky this year!
See you soon.
Your Elf on the Shelf