Is it healthy for my 6-year-old to still believe in Santa Claus?
Psychology expert Michelle del Rosario confirms why parents make their children believe in Santa Claus and how to reveal the truth about this social custom and age old Christian tradition during Christmas.
Q: Is it healthy for my 6-year-old to still believe in Santa Claus?
A: Parents tell their children the myth for reasons that are as follows: it teaches children to be good and charitable as well as it being a social custom and age old Christian tradition that makes kids happy because it makes the celebration special and “magical”. If believing in Santa is doing your child good then I do not see anything negative about it.
Children discover through their own curiosity that Santa does not exist at around the age of seven as they reach cognitive maturity and acquire logic and reasoning skills. But sometimes that is insufficient for them to let go of the myth. Explain to your child the origin of the story and that how it has become a part of Christmas family tradition hence the reason for telling them, and that it is not outright lying as some parents feel.
Instilling values: Being nice the whole year-round If you wish for your child to learn good values, the best way for that is leading by example in your everyday life. Doing so will teach your kid that being a good person isn’t just important when Santa wants to know who’s naughty or nice and therefore be reward based, however most importantly that being good is something natural and should be done freely from your heart whether you get something in return or not.
A personal standpoint Being raised in a religious Catholic environment, my parents did not see the importance of making a big deal out of believing in Santa. I was aware of his story and how he rewards good children but I was brought up to understand that Christmas is not just about giving and receiving gifts but more importantly, its true meaning which is love. To quote the ever popular John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
Click here to read on about what to do when Santa becomes an excuse or distraction for parents.