What child doesn’t love Christmas? And what child doesn’t love Santa Claus, the loveable old guy in red with the bottomless sack filled with endless gifts? However, as happens to every child (usually between the ages of 5-7), there will come that day when they ask whether Santa is actually real. This can be both an awkward and an important time in a child’s development that some adults struggle with. Some even tell their children early on that there is no Santa, so they won’t have to lie to them later on.
If your son or daughter has come to you asking about whether Santa, and you are not sure what to say, consider the following approach. It was posted on Facebook by Charity Hutchinson and offers a gentle, effective way to handle the issue.
In essence, Hutchinson says to tell kids that Santa Claus is something that we ourselves become. It is all about growing up, being considerate of other people’s feelings, and demonstrating that empathy by engaging in positive actions.
When the time comes, let the child know that you think they are ready. After citing several occasions during the year where the child has done kind things for others, talk to them about who else could benefit from their new Santa generosity. Emphasize that these acts of kindness are done in secret with no intention of someone doing the same for you—just as Santa did for them all these years.
This is a wonderful way to do it because you are encouraging kids to pass along the joy of giving without expectation. That is an important lesson which can help kids along the road to maturity at a time when they feel the world revolves solely around them. It also saves parents from having to lie, something that can be quite painful.
As for timing, there is nothing wrong with waiting until after Christmas. However, in the end, you child will decide, not you.