The Christmas holiday is officially in full swing – kids are watching their favourite festive films on repeat, opening their advent calendars, and counting down the days until Santa comes.
But the magic doesn’t last forever, because as your children get older, they only become more inquisitive, asking questions like how does Father Christmas deliver all of the presents in one night? And why does their sister gets more toys than them?
Eventually, you might find yourself wondering when you should tell them the truth about Santa? And what’s the best way to go about it without them feeling like they can’t trust you anymore? Daily Star spoke with child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer from Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide, to find out the best age to drop the bombshell.
Dr Gummer says a good time to tell your kids the truth is in year six before they go into secondary school, which is around the age of 10 or 11 – but this depends on the child.
She explained: “Many parents feel that sending children to secondary school still believing may lead to bullying, so the Christmas of year six is a good time if they still believe then.
“Other than that, it’s about when the children start asking about it and you’d have to lie outright to them to keep them believing”.
Dr Gummer also warns about the dangers of continually lying to your children about Santa Claus.
She explained: “It is important that your children trust you and believe what you tell them so if you keep the myth going for too long there’s a danger that you’ll damage your credibility with them which can be damaging for your relationship as they get older.”
If you are planning to tell your children the truth, there are a few ways to approach the topic sensitively.
Dr Gummer recommends that you “wait until they ask and then ask them what they think”.
She continued: “It’s easier to confirm suspicions they already have than break the news to them out of the blue”.
But be sure to tell them that the messages of Christmas, like kindness and being caring are all still valid.
She continued: “You can soften it by telling them that you still believe it’s a magical time of year.
“Try explaining that young children need to learn lessons about being good and kind and Santa is a way of helping them learn those lessons in a fun way”.