Many of us seriously want our children to believe in Santa Claus for as long as possible, and we are moved by the emotions of movies like “The Polar Express” and “Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus“.
However, you might be asking yourself whether all of this is healthy, or at what point you should tell your kids. In this article, I’ll cover a few different approaches.
Some of Us Believe In Santa; Some Don’t!
As we get older, we have to deal with what to tell our children about Santa. Often, the best way to deal with it is to ask them if they believe in Santa Claus.
At this time of year, there are situations where you may have to deal with children believing in Santa and also with other children who might not.
Some parents want their children to believe in Santa for as long as possible, often because they have fond memories of their own childhood experience. If you have an older child and are worried that they might disclose Santa’s secret, sit down and explain that there are believers and non-believers in Santa Claus and they should not ruin it for younger siblings just because they choose not to believe.
Making It About Choice – Don’t Force It
Parents should not do anything to force the issue, but if you are looking for a middle ground, I suggest you lead your child to believe in Santa Claus until they start asking questions. Please do encourage your children to think critically on this issue. If a child decides to believe in Santa, there can be a fine line between what a parent should and should not say. It’s usually not a good idea to lie outright – but there can be little harm in letting children believe as long as they choose to.
And when your child does find out? You can admit that it is fun to think that Santa is real. Tell them that it is ok to be sad, but you can believe that he embodies good qualities. Equally, when you were young, you thought he was a real person too. All the traditions are fun – we do love make-believe, after all.
What Happens If You Don’t Lead Them To Believe In Santa?
You may choose not to take part in the myth at all.
Of course, that’s perfectly OK too. I certainly don’t believe you’ll ruin your child’s holiday time if you choose not to take part in this story.
If you take this approach, you might want to explore with your kids what the Santa myth celebrates for all of us – and how it fits in with the popular culture in our country. You can ask them what it means for other people’s holiday traditions, even though Santa Claus has never been a tradition you have participated in.
Your Child Will Tell You
There are situations where you feel that your children may already know that “Santa Claus does not exist,” but what is a reasonable age for them to know his secrets?
It’s often easiest not to base this choice on age at all – but rather the child’s readiness to let go of the belief by themselves. You’ll find this happens at different ages for individual children.
It can be fun to believe in Santa, put gifts under the Christmas tree, and not forget the milk and cookies for Santa’s reindeer. When your kids do grow beyond this, you can explain to them that even if they no longer believe in Santa, it does not mean that his spirit no longer exists, but more importantly that they will celebrate Christmas in the same way.
If your child still believes and enjoys it, it’s very natural to want to protect your child’s faith in Santa. Remember, you don’t need to lie to them about his existence at all. You can say things like, “Well, some people believe that Santa is real and lives in the North Pole. Some say that he has elves who make the toys and…”
Most kids will take this as read. If you find they are asking straight out whether or not Santa exists, perhaps it’s time for you to ask your child: “Well, what do you think?” When your child’s curiosity goes beyond this point, it may be a sign they are ready to know the truth.
This year may be a good time to get your child to have a test to see if Santa is real. Another way to look at it is that Christmas is exciting, fun, and enjoyable, whether your child knows the truth about Santa or not. Your children don’t need to believe in Santa Claus or it’s necessary to grow up with the Santa Claus myth, though I really don’t think there’s anything bad about it.
The important thing is to stop whenever our children ask us to do so. I would suggest a time may come when your child asks you directly, and if they really want to know, you should tell them.
And if you do come to the point that your child learns that Santa Claus is not real, discuss what this information means for them. Ask them how they feel about it now – and what they feel Santa might mean to other people who chose to believe.
Wishing You a Very Happy Holidays
Whether you believe in Santa or not, we at Happy Bunnies Child Care School wish you all a very happy holiday season.
2020 has been a very odd year, but we have been blessed to care for so many of your kids.
We’re all looking forward to a wonderful New Year just around the corner. And if you listen very carefully on Thursday evening, who knows? It’s just possible you might even hear a sleigh bell coming from the night sky.