It’s a normal day just like any other, and you’re waiting to pick your seven year old from school. Out he walks the school gates, a scowl on his face with his brows furrowed.
“Mom, is Santa real? My friends told me he doesn’t exist and only babies believe in him…”
Oh God, you think to yourself. The day has arrived.
You look around in a state of panic, beads of sweat breaking out on your forehead as your brain tries to come up with some remotely believable explanation to tell your child.
As children grow older, they tend to start asking tough questions that can really put parents on the spot. The most dreaded questions for a vast majority of parents include “Where do babies come from?’ and “Is Santa real?”. Don’t worry, we have you covered. Here are our top 5 tips for the next time your child asks you “Is Santa real?”
- Tell The Real Story
The story of Santa is based on the story of a real person, St. Nicholas of Myra, who was a kind man and generously gave secret presents to those in need. It’s important to remind your child that although the pot-bellied man wearing a red and white suit is not real, the things he stands for – kindness, generosity and goodness to others – are indeed real.
Consider your child’s age
If your child is 10 years old and still believes in Santa, he’s clearly going to get made fun of at school; its better that you gently reconcile the Santa story with reality. However if your child is still 3-5 years old, you can let him relish in the magic of Santa Clause for a little while longer. A 4 year old who insists Santa doesn’t exist might face hostility from his classmates at school.
- Be prepared for different responses
Some children are relieved to find out that Santa is a pretend story; they are glad their perception of reality is cleared. Other children feel outraged at their parents for having ‘lied’ to them for so many years. It’s important to help them understand that celebrating and believing in this pretend story was not a betrayal of trust but rather a game intended to make things fun and magical.
- Wording matters
It’s important how you word your answer to the question “Is Santa real?” An outright no might bring on the floodgates and maybe traumatize your little one so it’s best to phrase it something like “Yes he is real but not in the way that you think…” That can be a great starting point to an honest conversation where you explain to your child what Santa stood for – kindness, cheer and generosity and how his spirit lives on in the hearts of all kind-hearted people.
- Comfort your child
Reassure your little one that just because Santa isn’t real doesn’t mean there’s no Christmas and things won’t be fun anymore. There will still be a Christmas tree, lots of presents, and lots of love and laughter. And yes, it will still be the best time of the year!