Last year, my oldest daughter received a “fairy door” as a birthday present, and it’s been a gift to the whole family because it “magically” transforms preschooler behavior. Fairy doors are novelty toys: small doors you can set up by a wall or a tree from which your child’s imaginary fairy friends can come and go (here and here are examples). The door came with a little key for our house fairy, a small book, a contract, and directions. We’ve used the threat or promise of fairy activity as a way to reinforce good behavior. After having our “fairy” for a year, I can honestly say that everyone needs a house fairy. Here’s why.
It’s Magical Fun!
Young children love magical fun. It makes them excited. You can choose to let your house fairy be completely imaginary, or, Mom, if you have the wherewithal, your fairy can occasionally let her presence be known. My daughters look forward to checking their fairy door each day to see if she left them notes, candy, or small prizes.
Our fairy doesn’t leave treats every day, so it is really exciting when she does leave something! Usually, our fairy will notice if someone was feeling really sad, sick, got hurt, or did a really great thing: like count to 100 for the first time. Caveat: yes, you’ve got to stay involved, Mom.
Your Fairy Can Reinforce Good Habits
Our fairy often rewards the girls for sharing and learning new academic skills. Sometimes the reward is just a note. Other times it’s a small prize. If the girls are struggling to get along one week, our fairy might remind them to make better choices. This is actually a good behavior incentive most of the time.
Your Fairy Can Take the Blame
Our fairy has also saved us from many arguments. Let’s say that your daughter comes home from her Valentine’s Day party with a bag full of Valentine’s Day cards. You don’t want to keep those cards forever, so after a day or so, you throw them away. When your child notices the cards are missing, you can say, “Oh, I bet fairy [fill in your fairy’s name here] took the cards to Pixie Hollow.”How can she argue with that? Can you imagine the post-Valentine’s party happening in Pixie Hollow right now?!
When your child notices that her half-eaten, sticky candy bracelet is no longer on the counter after a nap, you say, “Oh, I bet our fairy thought you left the rest of that candy for him or her.” If you pair that comment with a nice note from your fairy that thanks your child for sharing, your child will often be completely okay with the fact that their half-eaten candy bracelet (or other irreplaceable treasure) is missing. Hey, they were sharing! How awesome is that? (This seriously works like a charm. If your child is half as dramatic as my oldest daughter, then this reason alone will be worth getting a fairy door for your house.)
If you are wondering what to get your preschool-aged child for their birthday or other special event, invest in a fairy door. Your child will love it, and you can use the fairy to reinforce positive behavior or take the blame when needed. When it comes to parenting, pixie dust is appreciated!
Share with us! What do you love about having a house fairy?