Elf on the Shelf Rules For Beginners + Free Printable

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If you’re new to Elf on the Shelf, or are considering getting an Elf for your family, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about and what the rules are. This is where you will learn the Elf on the Shelf rules and how to get started with your Elf this Christmas season!

One of the most popular Christmas traditions in recent years is Elf on the Shelf.

The premise is simple: a family adopts a Christmas scout elf who comes to visit them from the North Pole each holiday season.

Each night, while the kids are asleep, the elf moves to a new spot in the house. In the morning, the kids have to find their elf.

Elf on the Shelf Rules: How to Do Elf on the Shelf for the First Time + Free Printable

While this may sound like a lot of work, there are some easy ways to get started with Elf on the Shelf (without feeling overwhelmed or stressed).

how to use elf on the shelf rules printable

What Is An Elf On The Shelf?

An Elf on the Shelf is a special holiday tradition that involves a toy elf who comes to visit children in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Some families welcome home one of Santa’s scout elves the day after Thanksgiving. But don’t feel like you have to start the tradition on a specific day.

The important thing is that your elf brings holiday cheer to your home throughout the month of December for the Christmas season!

How Does Elf on the Shelf Work?

Elf on the Shelf works by involving your kids in a month long game of hide-and-seek. Each night, while the kids are asleep, the elf moves to a new spot in the house. In the morning, the kids have to find their elf.

This simple premise is a great way to get your kids excited about Christmas and involved in the holiday preparations. It’s also a fun way to build anticipation for Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve and encourage good behavior!

How To Do Elf On The Shelf For The First Time

If you’re just starting with Elf on the Shelf, there are a few things you need to do before the big day.

Here’s what you need to know about how to get started with Elf on the Shelf:

First, pick out the perfect elf for your family.

There are all sorts of different elves available, so take your time and choose one that you think your kids will love.

Once you have your elf, give him or her a name and introduce them to your family.

Some fun elf names include…

Jingle

Snowball

Candy Cane

Rudolph

Frosty

Or my kid’s favorites…

  • Frank
  • Bob
  • June
  • Steve
  • Dogfood

Once you have your elf’s name picked out, it’s time to read the Elf on the Shelf story together as a family.

This is a great way to get everyone excited about your new holiday tradition.

After you’ve read the story, it’s time to start playing!

Next, decide where you want your elf to hide each night.

Each night, while the kids are asleep, you get to move your elf to a new spot in the house. In the morning, the kids can search for their elf.

To make things even more fun, you can leave little clues around the house to help the kids find their elf each morning.

You can get creative with your elf’s hiding spots, but make sure that they’re simple for you and won’t damage any of your belongings.

Some easy ideas include: inside a shoe, under a pillow, in a stocking, or inside a mug.

You can also have your elf do little mischievous things around the house (like putting whipped cream in your family’s mugs for some homemade hot chocolate).

Remember, the important thing is that your elf brings holiday cheer to your home throughout the month of December. So don’t stress about being perfect – just have fun with your new family tradition!

Finally, make sure to stick to the rules.

Not only are these elves very serious about their jobs, but children are also quick to catch on when rules aren’t followed, or when consequences are avoided.

Now that you know the basics of how to get started with Elf on the Shelf, it’s time to talk about some important rules.

What Are The Rules For Elf On The Shelf?

Here are the Elf on the Shelf rules:

1. Elves cannot be touched. If an elf is touched by a child, they will lose their magic and will not be able to fly back to the North Pole.

2. Elves cannot speak. They can only communicate by ringing bells or moving objects. However, your child can talk or sing to the elf.

3. The Elf returns to the North Pole every night. This is where they report back to Santa about whether the children in the home have been naughty or nice.

4. Children are encouraged to write Santa a letter. Your Elf on the Shelf will deliver your child’s letter.

5. Serve others around you and be kind to everyone.

Free Elf On The Shelf Rules Printable

You can download this free PDF printable to help remind your family of the Elf on the Shelf rules.

free elf on the shelf rules printable

Post it on your fridge or keep it in a visible spot so everyone can see it.

Get the Elf on the Shelf rules printable here.

How To Use Elf On The Shelf Rules

In all the excitement of having a family elf you may need to remind your children of the Elf Rules.

There will be times when your child might touch the elf (which goes against the first rule).

If this happens, simply explain to your child that the elf lost its magic for the next 24 hours and can’t fly back to the North Pole until he/she gets their magic back.

If your child is struggling to follow the rules, sit down with them and talk about what actions they’re doing wrong and the importance of following rules.

You can also use the Elf on the Shelf rules printable (above) as a reminder for your family.

Be sure to share your own experiences with us and other readers in the comments below. Don’t forget to share your own tips and tricks in the comments below!

👉 Check Out These Other Elf On The Shelf Printables And Elf Ideas To Make This Christmas Easy Planning

Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Letters

Free Elf on the Shelf Bad Behavior Letters

Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Poems

Elf on the Shelf Last Day Ideas

Elf on the Shelf Welcome Letter

Elf on the Shelf Hot Cocoa Printable

Christian Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf Alternatives

Last Minute Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Elf on the Shelf Cereal

Elf on the Shelf Reindeer

Elf on the Shelf Games

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