It is that time of the year when the air is filled with holiday and cheer. It is Christmas time. Children love Christmas, not only because it translates to holidays, but also because Christmas is the time they have been waiting all year long to get their favorite gifts from the much loved Santa Claus.
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Although not very popular in India, children in many parts of the world believe that Santa Claus is real and he comes down their chimneys on Christmas Eve to leave gifts for them. In reality, of course, parents leave the gifts under the Christmas tree or inside the Christmas stockings and just pretend that Santa Claus left it there. However, there will come a time when your child will realize that Santa Claus is not real and if not dealt with smartly, your child would start seeing the whole tradition as a lie instead of a beautiful fantasy.
When Is Your Child Ready To Be Told That Santa Is Not Real?
Child psychologists believe that by the time they are seven years old, kids can tell the difference between reality and fantasy. So you can start expecting logical questions around Santa Claus around this time. However, many parents take efforts to prolong the magic of Christmas in their children’s lives by leaving food and drinks for Santa Claus and reindeer before going to sleep and then creating footprints leading to stockings for the kids to discover the next day.
How Do The Kids Find Out That Santa Is Not Real?
A large majority of the kids are told about Santa Claus by either their friends or their parents. But many at times, they grow out of believing in Santa themselves.
What Makes Them Realize Santa Is A Myth?
As they develop intellect, the prospect of a portly man climbing down the chimney of every house in the world starts sounding a bit unlikely and unrealistic. They will also understand that reindeer cannot really fly, they are terrestrial. They also realize magic is not real. That is when they figure out themselves that Santa Claus most likely is folklore. However, some kids do continue to believe in Santa Claus despite their logic suggesting otherwise, especially when adults in the family (like parents and grandparents) who they look up to seem to be suggesting that Santa Claus in fact exists.
How To Break It To Your Kid That Santa Is A Myth?
So is your child 6 or 7 and still believes in Santa? Are you tired of sustaining the whole make-belief surrounding Santa? But are you also worried that your child might not take the revelation nicely when you tell him? Here are few ways you can break the news:
Just tell them the truth: Plain and simple. Ok, may be not simple. But one way is to just tell them straight out that Santa is a myth. Your child might be very disappointed, so assure him that he will continue getting gifts every year despite Santa being not real
Delegate the task: At times it is best someone else breaks the news to the child – an older sibling, a friend or another adult (a godparent perhaps). Once the child processes the news, he would invariably want to talk to someone else and that is when you appear
Let Santa break the news: Write a letter to your child from Santa. Let Santa tell your child lovingly that he has become too old to make the trip to every home so he is delegating the parents to get presents for the kids from that year on
Distract them: Whenever and however you decide to break the news, keep some distractions (preferably in the form of yummy food items) ready. This is one of those times when the fact that your child has a short attention span comes in handy. Take full advantage of it!
Wait it out: We mentioned before that kids figure this out themselves in due time, either themselves or through friends. So, one option is to wait it out and let it dawn on them. And when they do come to you for clarification, be honest
One of the scariest question you can face from your child as he realizes Santa is not real is “why did you lie to me?” It is important that you explain to the child that your motive was not to lie but to let him believe in a beautiful fantasy that children world over grows up with. Assure him that you love him.
On the other hand, there can be some children who will never ever stop believing in Santa, mainly because they strongly associate Santa to be the one who makes Christmas magical. Parents of such kids can teach them to play Secret Santa and be Santa in their own generous actions. Parents can encourage them to do some charity, like distributing toys, clothes etc. to the underprivileged kids, and share with them the joy of getting to act like Secret Santa.
In whatever way you decide to break your child’s fantasy, we wish you good Luck and Merry Christmas!