‘Tis the season for tackling the ‘Santa Question.’ When your curious 8 year old catches you off guard and asks, “Is Santa real?” it can cue the obvious head explosion, palm sweating, deer in headlights parenting moment.
The first step in navigating this bittersweet moment is to take a deep breath and be excited that your kiddo is growing and exploring what’s out there! Here’s a few easy ways you can respond during this transition:
1. Ask for their opinion
Before you answer them, turn it around and ask them if THEY think Santa is real. Their response can help you decide how you react. If they aren’t sold that Santa is the real deal, you can remind them that everyone is entitled to their own feelings, but that no matter what the holidays bring kindness, generosity and special memories for your family.
2. Share your own stories and memories
Try sharing your own childhood stories about the holidays. Reminisce about the joy, fun and anticipation that Santa brought to your own childhood to help recenter your little one on some of their favorite parts of the season. Acknowledge their curiosity but remind them how magical the idea of Santa is and how fun it is to embrace this exciting season.
3. Keep the spirit alive
If you have more than one kiddo, it’s important to teach your older one to keep the spirit alive for their younger siblings so they can continue to have a magical holiday season for the years to come.
4. Celebrate new traditions
Introduce new family traditions that celebrate the holiday season in different ways. Maybe it’s baking together, volunteering, or watching classic holiday movies. Whatever you choose, this is the start to something new as you begin to adjust in this new stage!
5. Confide in your child
Your little one’s friends might still believe in Santa, so it’s important to keep the secret between your family if you choose to embrace “Santa isn’t real” inside your four walls. Your kiddo doesn’t want to risk spilling the beans for other children, so try encouraging your child to celebrate the many roles we can take during the holidays. Being “Santa’s helpers” to keep surprises for other kids can ensure the holiday spirit is special for everyone.
6. Remember what Santa is really about
The holidays aren’t just about believing in Santa, and it’s important to remind your kiddo that! It’s about being together with loved ones, sharing old memories and creating new ones, giving back, and spreading the love and cheer for all to hear. So no matter what your child believes in, it’s all about the quality time we have together this time of year.