In recent years, little elves have begun popping up in people’s homes around Christmastime. Once adopted by a family, they play tricks on the children while they sleep. Of course, the parents are the puppeteers behind the curtain, using the toy elves to entertain their kids during the holidays. But some parents end up putting a lot of pressure on themselves to pull off the most elaborate pranks and outdo other parents. “The elf phenomenon stems from our need to add a bit of whimsy and excitement to our everyday lives,” says psychologist Nathalie Parent.
“Unfortunately, it’s been taken over by marketing ploys and social media. Parents are posting their ideas on Facebook, and sometimes you get the impression that the performance outweighs the fun. It’s all about who has the nicest elf, the best idea, or the best stunt.” For author France Paradis, elves should stay imaginary: “These mass-produced elves destroy any sense of magic or mystery.” Parent believes that the elf craze is far from the only way for parents to entertain their kids.
“It’s up to parents to decide what they want to do,” she says. “But to enrich their child’s imagination, it can be more valuable to share personal traditions or make up new stories together.”
I don’t have time to do an activity every day!
Despite your hectic schedule, it’s important to spend quality time with your child, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. These moments are the building blocks of a strong parent-child bond. If you give your little one your full attention each time you’re together, he will feel loved even when you’re apart.
These activities are beyond my budget
Your little one is happiest when he sees his parents’ loving, smiling faces. The activities in this Advent calendar require few materials and cost next to nothing. “Parents have to remember that the fanciest toy in the world could never replace the love they show their children by playing with them,” says Francine Ferland.
Source: Naître et grandir magazine, December 2013
Research and copywriting: Marie-Josée Cardinal
Scientific review: Diane Dubeau, professor of psychoeducation and psychology, UQO