Tips and ideas for what you can say when your child asks “Is Santa real?” or starts questioning the existence of Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas.
It’s the moment every parent dreads, the moment when the magic of Santa slips away, and all of a sudden our little babies seem to lose some of their innocence. It can be a heartbreaking moment for parents and a little confronting for kids too. So what do you do when your child’s belief in Santa Claus begins to waver? Whether you decide to keep the magic alive a little longer or bite the bullet and fess up, here are some suggestions for tackling this age-old parenting dilemma.
Every child is different. I still remember the exact moment my son looked me in the eye and asked me “Is Santa real?”. He had a very curious mind and often asked about Santa, but as his questions grew more serious and I knew I couldn’t lie anymore. My eldest daughter on the other hand just kept on believing, to the point where hubby and I decided to tell her the truth to save her embarrassment among her peers.
Every child is different, and so is every approach. Depending on whether you want to squeeze another magical year out of your child or cough up and admit defeat, here are a few ideas for both…
Do your kids still believe in Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas?
How To Keep The Magic Alive
Keep the traditions going – the magic is all in those little moments. The cookies and milk for Santa, the reindeer food sprinkled on the front lawn, and the presents under the tree first thing Christmas morning. Elf on the shelf is another gorgeous way to keep the magic alive all month long! If you’re new to Elf on the Shelf and don’t know where to start then the Elf on the Shelf planner will be perfect for you. Need some elf on the shelf ideas? Have a look at Elf on the Shelf Antics Ideas.
Ask Google Assistant or Siri – these are the go-to’s for many parents when asked a question by their child they don’t know the answer to, and even Google and Siri have your back on this one. Get your little one to ask Google Assistant or Siri the question and see what they have to say. I promise there’ll be no burst bubbles from these guys.
Santa Tracker – bring Santa to life by allowing you children to explore, play and learn on the Google Santa Tracker here, and then track his movement come Christmas Eve.
Jingle the bells – on Christmas Eve when you go to bed, gently jingle some bells outside your child’s bedroom window whilst they sleep. If they stir and hear the bells, it will add to the magic that is Santa’s sleigh and reindeers.
Get photographic proof – when you need to pull out the big guns, the Still Believe app is your answer! This free app allows you to superimpose Santa into your very own living room, which I’m confident will make a believer out of your kids for a little bit longer.
Send a letter to Santa – thanks to Australia Post, your child can send Santa a letter at the North Pole, which they can even track through their interactive Santa Mail Tracker! Get all the info you need here.
Get a letter back! – let me post a personalised letter from Santa to your child, with your child’s name, behaviour, and two achievements included. We will post the letter to your address, and it will be sealed by Santa himself!
How To Break The News
Lots of experts suggest that if children are old enough to ask if Santa is real, they are old enough to hear the truth. I think it depends on the situation though, for example a 2 year old who asks because his older brother told him Santa isn’t real, is different than a 10 year old who is seriously weighing up the logistics of how Santa can visit every house in the world in one night. Should you decide it’s time to tell the truth, here are some tips that might help.
Explain to them why – when the time comes to tell your children the truth, make sure you explain why. When I had the chat with all my children, I explained that I loved seeing the joy and smiles on their face, and that I wanted them to experience the same memories and magic that I had enjoyed as a child.
Answer all their questions – for some children, finding out the truth of Santa can be devastating! My youngest was very upset, so I made sure I gave her plenty of time to answer all the questions that she had.
It’s all about hope, spirit and love – remind your child that the spirit, magic and fun of Christmas lives on in the ‘story’ of Santa, regardless of whether he’s a physical person or not. Check out some great responses from parents who have had the ‘Santa chat’ with their kids here.
Write them a letter – I love this letter from Martha Brokenbrough, it keeps the magic of Santa alive whilst also being honest about there being no Santa. I especially this excerpt…
Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
Remind them it’s a secret – once your children know why parents tell their kids about Santa, make sure they know to keep it a secret because other children may still believe.
Ask for their help – once my son knew the truth, he was then allowed to be part of the secret squirrel business that helped to bring magic to his sister’s Christmas’. He loved helping with the elf antics and the presents, and made him feel very grown up. By enlisting your child’s help, you are also minimising the risk that they will ruin the magic for the younger kids.