It’s the most wonderful time of the year – unless you’re scared of Santa Claus! And that particular fear isn’t as rare as you might think.
Because while adults are all aware that the man with the bag is a kindly benevolent old soul, to a surprising number of children he’s distinctly scary. And that’s bad news at a time when he seems to be everywhere. So how can you help if your child is afraid of Santa?
Talk about their fears
What is it that scares your child about Santa? Is his voice too deep? Is it his beard? Or do they see him as a stranger? It’s hardly surprising that some children are afraid of Mr Claus. We teach them to beware of strangers then we tell them an old man in red will come into their home on Christmas Eve while they’re asleep. A sensitive child could find lots to worry about in the discrepancy here.
Once you know why your child is scared you can tackle that fear. You can explain that Santa only comes into the house when you’re there to give him permission. You can talk about how kind Santa is and what a lovely old man is hiding behind the beard and the deep voice.
Don’t push too hard
You might think the best way to tackle a child’s fear of Santa would be to get them to sit on his knee and see how kind he is. But would you force someone who’s scared of heights to stand at the top of a tower? Hopefully not. Forcing a child to confront a fear isn’t going to help anything – it’s more likely to make matters worse. Work with your child’s feelings if you want to change them.
Read stories about Santa
There are lots of lovely children’s stories about Santa Claus. Sharing these with your child will help to show him as a friendly figure who loves children. And don’t forget to talk about how kind he is to his reindeer.
Keep them away from negative images of Santa
There are , of course, comedy films that show Santa as a bad-tempered old curmudgeon. While those of us who know the truth can laugh at these misrepresentations, children may believe them. Only let your child see films that give an accurate picture of Santa’s personality.
Take your child’s fears seriously
You wouldn’t like to be told your fear is silly, would you? So don’t do that to your child. It’s very tempting to say “Don’t be silly sweetheart, Santa’s nothing to be scared of.” But to your child that fear isn’t silly. Take it seriously and ask how you can help.
Christmas is a special time for children. Don’t let fear of Santa take away any of the magic.