Is Your Child Scared Of Santa? What To Do With Santaphobia
Christmas is a magical time for many. There’s so much excitement for children and making it magical for them is a wonderful part of parenting. But, for some children, the magic is tinged with a bit of fear. It’s not unusual for children to have a fear of Santa or a Santaphobia. So, how can you deal with this fear without ruining the charm and thrill of Christmas? Dreams Beds have put together some information on Santaphobia. Here is what they say:
Why Is My Child Scared Of Santa?
Before going into how to help a child with Sanataphobia, it’s important that you understand the reason for this fear. Being scared of Santa is actually fairly common in young children. Luckily, most will grow out of it by the age of five.
Children normally find Santa scary for a combination of reasons. First of all, he is a stranger. When you’ve been telling children to be wary of strangers all year, to suddenly be told that this one stranger is absolutely fine is confusing for little ones. Not only is this complete stranger fine, but he comes into your house at night when everyone is asleep by coming down the chimney. He literally breaks into your house and you are meant to be happy about this, understandably it’s very confusing for a young child.
On top of all this, Santa has a God-like presence. We tell our children how he watches all year and judges their behaviour. So, for him to suddenly be seen everywhere is a lot of pressure on your little one.
Lastly, this God-like stranger changes every time your child meets him. Sure, he’s always dressed in red, is jolly, and has a big white beard, but he also gets taller and shorter with every visit. His accent and voice can change too. We don’t actually know how young children process these differences, but it must be overwhelming for them.
How To Help A Child With Santaphobia
The good news about Santaphobia is that your child is likely to grow out of this fear by five years old, so they will still have plenty of childhood left to experience the magic of Christmas without fear. For now, there are simple ways in which you can help them to deal with their fear:
1. Take It Slow
Time is a great healer, and children outgrow this fear simply because they have previous experience with Santa Claus. If your child has shown a fear of Santa this year, bring him into their minds earlier next year. This will give them more time to get used to him and ask any questions they have about old St Nick.
This will also mean that when everything changes at Christmas time, with lights and decorations, seeing more family, nativities etc. there is one less thing introduced, making it that little bit less overwhelming.
2. Let Your Child Lead
When it comes to facing fears, giving your child full control can be a huge help. Allowing your child to present their fears and say no will teach them an important skill that many adults find difficult.
If your child doesn’t want to sit on Santa’s knee, don’t force them. Although this may snap a few children out of their fear, for many it just creates a negative memory of the big guy, which can just make the fear worse. Instead, talk to them and try to get them excited over visiting Santa, but also let them know other options that they can do. If they choose a different option, let them do this. With time, they will hear friends talk about how exciting it was to visit Santa and they won’t want to miss out.
3. Be Aware Of The Fear
It may be tempting to tell your child that Santa isn’t actually real to help them get over their fear, but this will stop them having magical Christmas’ in the future. Instead, just being aware of their fear and acknowledging it will be enough.
All you need to do is reassure them and let them know that it’s ok to be nervous. Tell them that Santa can take some time to get used to, but he really is a good guy. Have some coping mechanisms for your child and allow them space and time that they need. Not only will you be helping them with their Santaphobia, but also teaching them important skills for dealing with fears in the future.
Overall, Santaphobia might be a nuisance for parents as all you want to do is give your child a wonderful and magical Christmas. But, with time and understanding, your child will grow out of this fear. You’ll soon be able to have the exciting Christmas, where there is no fear of St Nick, and share it with your little one.