How to tell your kid the truth about Santa

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Learn more Gauge your child's feelings. Understand what your child feels and knows about Santa before complicating the truth about the myth. Keep up the story they know until they introduce some skepticism or desire to know more of the truth. Ask your child what other children have said about Santa, or what your child thinks about him. You will be able to tell if he or she believes wholeheartedly that he is real, in which case saying anything different will be met with severe disappointment or plain disbelief.

It may be that you have chosen from the beginning to opt out of telling the magical story of Santa delivering presents to children in one night.

Know when they're ready, and then let go.

But even so, it is easy for children to foster a belief that Santa is real anyhow from friends, movies, and other media portrayals of the jolly man. Be careful not to assume that your child understands completely. Let the question come up naturally. Wait to talk to your child about the truth of Santa until he or she brings it up themselves.

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This way you know you are not springing new information on them too soon. Allow your child to wait to hear rumors, put together clues, and otherwise use his or her reasoning skills to question what they know on their own. This can become a positive exercise in critical thinking rather than a disappointing revelation.

Turn your child's question around.

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Play a guessing game. Let your child guess who the real Santa Claus could be.

Offer clues or options to choose from to make it an enjoyable experience. Try listening to a Christmas song that your child likes and sing along to any lyrics that might hint at who Santa could be.

ASK A TEENAGER - How do I tell my kid the truth about Santa?

Explain the background of Santa. Let your child know that Santa was a real person or based on a real person if you want to. Explain Saint Nicholas or another origin of your choice.

When your child wants the truth about Santa - CNN

Tell the story of St. Nicholas, who was well known as a gift-giver, a protector of children, and a man of great faith who spent his whole life and life savings to help those less fortunate than himself. Some people believe the red robes that St. Nicholas wore as a bishop inspired the famous red Santa suit.

Explain that your child is "ready". Let your child know you are only telling him or her about Santa because you think they are old enough or ready to know the truth. Emphasize the positive accomplishment this represents, rather than being a letdown or lack of trust. Give your child a hug and let him or her know how special, grown up, and wise they are now that they know more about Santa.

You figured out the magic of Christmas! Show that Santa is still real in spirit. Explain that you and other parents keep up the spirit of Santa, which is still real and represents generosity, love, and fun for children all over the world. Offer an opportunity for your child to show his or her own Santa qualities of generosity or giving. Find a toy drive or other volunteer opportunity that they can donate items that are unused or grown out of to children who may not have them.

Understand what upsets your child. I think that kids need to have privacy, space away from adults, freedom to fully express their feelings.

"It's the mooost wonderful tiiiiime of the — OH NO, did Charlie just ask if Santa is real?!"

No matter what our children do, our love for them will never diminish. In that loving space, I find ways to teach her to be more of who she is meant to be. When our kids act kindly out of the goodness in their hearts, not because of threats or bribes, it is naturally reinforcing. Kids that get rewarded for doing something experience less enjoyment, and are less motivated to do that behavior again! Kids trust us fully and need us to help them make sense of the world. They rely on us to be truthful.

They rely on us for security and safety.

Tell your kids the truth: Santa is real

I also know kids who are frightened by Santa. Christmas is about giving, not receiving, right? If gifts are conditionally given, kids focus on themselves. If gifts are given unconditionally, kids can focus on others, giving unconditionally to them as well. They will still believe in magic!