Round at a neighbour’s house the other day, her five-year old was being surprisingly well-behaved – saying please and thank you, eating all his dinner, doing what his mum asked first time… you know, suspicious things.
When I pointed this out, she admitted she’d had help – in the form of an iPhone/iPad app, invented by her designer husband and his fellow dad friend, called Magic Jar. The idea is that Father Christmas has shelves and shelves of jars, one for each child, in his house in Lapland. If a child is good, the ‘magic’ in their jar increases; if they’re naughty, it decreases. Every time they click on the Magic Jar icon on their parents’ phone, the screen whizzes through space and snowy forests to Santa’s house; and takes them to view their jar. Parents can control the amount of magic in the jar (pretty swirly lights) with a password, when their kids aren’t looking. Genius.
It’s not much different to a phenomenon in the States, called ‘The Elf on the Shelf’ , where parents buy a toy elf and put it in a different place each day in December (the idea being that the elf has flown back to Santa’s house each night to report on the child’s progress). Only thing is, Magic Jar is a lot less effort and costs just 69p from the Apple Store (take a look at it here http://bit.ly/VTguol).
Now some people might not approve of bribery in this way (!), but my friend’s son loved it. He proudly showed me his jar and was so excited by the ‘magic’ inside. Besides, you don’t have to use it for kids – I reckon it’d be perfect for keeping boyfriends, husbands and even grandparents in line, too…!
Apparently there will be future versions of Magic Jar for birthdays and summer holidays. But for now, I’m going to use this one to keep my other half on his toes over the next few days. If he doesn’t behave and keep his jar full of magic, I’ll keep all his Christmas chocolates for myself. Yum.