Christmas really is the most magical time of the year, especially when you have children.
There’s nothing quite like seeing their faces light up when they visit Santa Claus at your local garden centre come Christmas grotto, but sadly, all good things must come to an end when it comes to childhood wonder.
There’ll be a time when they catch on to the idea that Santa Claus may not be real, and whether they’ve heard about it through an older child or simply thought about it themselves, it’s a truly heartbreaking moment for both you and your child.
To soften the blow just a little bit, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your child about it. Here’s our advice on how you can do so:
Finding the right time to tell them
On average, a child is 8 when they discover the truth about Santa. Although it could be a bit earlier or later, start looking out for signs when they’re around this age.
When you eventually hear the question “is Santa real?”, and your usual response of “of course!” isn’t met with satisfaction, it might be time to explain.
A child that fully believes Santa is real is more likely to accept your answer without question, while a child that has their doubts will ask the question again or show dissatisfaction.
Try and plan for exactly how to tell your child the truth about Santa, by working out a time when it’ll be just you and your child together. This encourages your child to show their true feelings, as well as prevents you from accidentally spilling the beans to any younger children.
How to respond to your child’s reaction
Some children may think it’s a special secret that only they know, while others may be embarrassed or upset to find out the truth.
Encourage them to share their emotions with you, and provide them with the reassurance that Christmas will still be just as magical.
Some children might get the idea that no Santa equates to no Christmas at all, so they must understand that this simply isn’t the case.
It might be a good idea to encourage them not to tell other children your secret just yet, especially not much younger siblings!
Explain the values of Christmas
Knowing that the Christmas spirit is still alive will help Christmas time remain magical for them.
Whether you explain to your child the religious importance of Christmas or dive into how it’s the season of giving, you can easily make Christmas about kindness and giving instead of Santa and reindeers.
Some parents have opted for the method of encouraging their child to be a Santa, suggesting that they only now know the truth because they’re ready to spread Christmas values themselves. This will help your child feel honoured to know the truth instead of heartbroken, as well as encourage them to spread as much love as possible this Christmas time.
Give them a job to wrap and secretly deliver one of your other children’s Christmas presents, whether that be a new pair of baby pyjamas or outerwear. The thrill they’re likely to get from giving is likely to stay with them for life, showing them how magical Christmas can be when you’re spreading kindness and love.
It’s important to understand that every child needs to be told the truth about Santa differently. While some will take it well, others may not, but you’ll be able to understand that better than anyone else.
Telling your child about Santa can be a tough time for both of you, but once they understand, it should only get easier from there.
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