Take a step back and breathe: When your child comes to you questioning if Santa is real and asking you, the parent, to confirm – one way or the other – take a step back and a deep breath before responding. This will give you a moment to gather your thoughts and answer in the best way possible.
Ask what inspired the questions: Begin by asking your child why they’re asking this question in the first place. Did they hear something from another child at school? Or did they determine on their own that “Santa’s job” is seemingly impossible? If they’ve thought about it long enough and critically enough to determine on their own that Santa might not be real, then it might be time to explain to them that they are, in fact, correct. If, on the other hand, your child explains to you that another child from school just happened to claim loudly that Santa isn’t real, then your child still likely believes in Santa. If this is the case, let them know that not everyone believes in the same things, and that’s perfectly okay, but that if your child believes Santa exists then nobody can take that belief away from them.
Don’t forget to put a silver lining on it: Say something like “Santa is able to personify the spirit of Christmas; the joy, happiness, love, selfless giving, empathy and more that encompass the whole idea of Christmas.” Let your child know that when you think about it that way, Santa is simply the face of Christmas.
Be understanding and sensitive: Tackling the “Is Santa Real” question is tricky and not the easiest subject to tiptoe around. Remember to be sensitive, understanding, and even creative in your response! If your child asks if he or she will still receive presents every year, reassure that presents will still magically appear under the Christmas tree every year.
Provide interesting information about the history of Santa Claus: If you are ready to confirm that Santa is not real, then find useful history about the Santa Claus tradition. Provide information on where the tradition originated, how Christmas is celebrated in different countries, etc.
These tips may be reprinted with credit listed as:
Robert Nickell (a.k.a. Daddy Nickell), father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of DaddyScrubs.com, delivery room duds, gifts, and apparel for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog, where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad’s perspective.
About Daddy Nickell
For his blog, Nickell writes from a father’s perspective on topics such as bonding with your child and what the father should expect during pregnancy and infancy. Daddy Nickell also contributes his parenting expertise to national talk shows and daytime television shows. He has been featured on “Good Morning L.A.,” “Good Morning Texas,” “Daytime TV” ABC15 Phoenix, MSNBC, WZZM 13, San Antonio Living, KSBI TV, and as a syndicated columnist for national newspapers, parenting magazines and websites including Baby Couture Magazine, Oh Baby! Magazine, City Parent Magazine, The Bump, Parenthood, and Homeschooling Parent.