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Some parents prefer 'Kindness Elf' over 'Elf on the Shelf'

Parents are using "Elf on a Shelf" and the "Kindness Elf" to teach their kids to behave during the holiday season.

Since the start of December, kids all over the world have likely been on their best behavior since the "Elf on the Shelf" is back and he's watching.

The story is the elf is sent from the North Pole to keep an eye on kids throughout the day, and then flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa while the kids are sleeping.

The elf makes it back to your home and typically hides in a different spot every day, sometimes causing mischief.

Some parents are rebelling against this naughty elf and instead bringing the "Kindness Elf" into their home. Kathy Yates lives in Tampa and started doing this a few years ago with her three young kids. Basically, their elves ask the kids to do an act of kindness each day.

One day, the elves told the kids to celebrate differences and hand out some Hanukah gifts, then they would have a menorah that night. Another day the elves asked the kids to share as much as possible while at school. Yet another simple one was to tidy up any messes they see.

So these acts of kindness can be simple or even grand. It's the focus on giving instead of receiving that many parents, like Yates, appreciate.

"We make a big deal about doing it every day in December, but we kind of continue it and the kids are nicer to each other and they talk about 'oh I did this for my brother' or 'I did this for my friend today' and I feel like it's kind of a nice way for us to reinforce it as kind of a lifestyle instead of just happening this month," Yates said.

UPDATE: After doing this story, it turns out there's a mom in Great Britain that has created Kindness Elves. She reached out to me and told me how she first came up with the concept. She is a mother of four and a former teacher. She wanted to do something that focused on kindness more than a "naughty" elf! The dolls are adorable if you want to check them out at www.TheKindnessElves.com

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