The Elf on the Shelf tradition that seems to be sweeping the country would not take off in our house, as our ASD kids would not be happy seeing their possessions being messed around by an elf each night. Instead of causing excitement, it would cause a meltdown each morning. When we made footprints for Father Christmas 10 years ago to surprise our daughter and eldest son, we thought we were creating a magical experience in our house for Christmas morning. Instead our daughter refused to come downstairs until we had hoovered away the mess. We’ve never tried to recreate that magic again, as know the reaction we will get.
Last month our youngest son came home from school and said someone in his class had told him Father Christmas was not real. He is only 8 and too young for the magic of Christmas to be spoilt for him yet, so I looked for ideas on how to reassure him Father Christmas is true (he wants proof and won’t take our word for it) and came across a website called the North Pole Behaviour Department.
They create a pack for your child with their name on green, amber and red cards, which you leave out each night for them depending on their behaviour for the day, with a progress chart for your child to tick off each day. On the first day in December the child receives a certificate to say if they are on the naughty or nice list, as well as a card from their chosen elf with a small list of things the child can work towards to earn a green card each day. At £10 for the pack, I thought it was worth buying for our son. You need to fill in the details of your child’s chosen elf and so I asked a friend to write in the name of ‘Stampy McSprinkle’ with a list of three things for our son to work towards to earn a green card, so that he didn’t recognise the handwriting.
Reward systems work for our son and Stampy McSprinkle has been a big hit in our house this month. The first thing our son does each morning is to check what colour card Stampy has left him overnight and then he fills in his progress chart. Today, our son received a mid month behaviour chart with a chocolate lollipop from Stampy to let him know he’s on the nice chart. Sometimes our son stops in his tracks and thinks about the behaviour he is showing and asks us if we think Stampy will give him an amber or red card. I think he may miss Stampy McSprinkle when Christmas Day arrives. Fingers crossed, he will still believe next year and the magic can begin all over again.