Look for signs your child is curious about Santa’s true identity
Has your child begun to ask questions about the jolly fellow, perhaps even the direct inquiry, “Is Santa real”? Or maybe your son or daughter has noticed Santa’s voice or size differs from store to store. These types of questions could indicate your child is ready to further the discussion about who Santa really is.
Let it happen naturally, not on a deadline
Some parents may be able to gauge the age at which their child will learn the answer to “Is Santa real?” Some may even think their child needs to know once he or she reaches a certain age. In reality, the process should happen on the child’s timeline. “There’s really no one right time to tell kids that there’s no Santa Claus,” Glen Elliott, PhD, an associate professor and the director of the department of child and adolescent psychology at the University of California, San Francisco, tells WebMD. “The important thing is to take your cues from the child, and not try to prolong the fantasy for your own enjoyment when they may be ready to give it up.”
Talk about the tradition of Santa in your family
For Özlem Jones, two of her children had their “Is Santa real?” moment when they began to doubt Santa’s ability to travel to every child’s house in a single night. “It was math that helped them discover the truth,” she said. She then told them they had joined “the grownup world.” In her family, it was important to keep the tradition of Santa alive. “You have a responsibility, just like us, to keep the hopes of little children going,” she told her older kids. You could also use this as an opportunity to add a new holiday tradition, like one of these Christmas traditions from around the world.