How to Prepare Your Kids Before They Meet Santa

How to Prepare Your Kids Before They Meet Santa | Baby Chick

How to Prepare Your Kids Before They Meet Santa

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but… maybe not so much when it comes time to your child meeting Santa. You might have been excited this holiday season to get that cute picture of your kid(s) sitting on Santa’s lap telling him what they want for Christmas, but this may not go as planned. Many kids are afraid of Santa. As soon as it’s their turn in line to meet jolly old Saint Nick, they freak out. Well, if you’re wanting some smiles in that photo with Santa and not a meltdown, here are some key tips on preparing your little ones for a smooth, calm and successful visit with Santa Claus…

1. Introduce Your Child to Santa Claus

Mother and her daughters reading a book

Get your child excited about Santa at the beginning of the holiday season so that he already feels like he knows him. Tell stories about the jolly man who brings presents to girls and boys around the world or share memories of what Santa meant to you as a kid.

Visuals are always helpful so watch age-appropriate movies that portray Santa in a positive light, such as the original Santa Claus Is Coming to TownThe Santa Clause, or Miracle on 34th Street. Read books such as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas or The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear. And, of course, it can’t hurt to suggest that your child write a “wish list” that you can send off to the North Pole.

Remember though, from your child’s perspective, those “safe,” non-threatening representations of Santa, are polar opposites from standing face-to-face with a 6 foot tall, 300 pound, bell jingling, ho-ho-hoing, white hair covered “stranger”. That can be scary for your little one.

2. Avoid Weekends!

If you can arrange to take your child at a time when there are shorter lines, less crowds and a shorter wait time, your child will have a better experience. Waiting even 10 minutes, being dragged through the maze of velvet ropes, is tough for kids.

3. Consider Your Child’s Schedule

Select a time for your visit when your child is at their brightest, best mood. You won’t want to go during a nap time or close to bedtime. There are parents out there who wonder why their 3-year-old is pitching a fit about going up to see Santa at 9:30 at night. If you can arrange your schedule for a well-timed morning visit, you’ll have better results.

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4. Sugar High

Try to avoid sweets, ice cream, sugary cookies, candy and sodas in the couple hours before your visit with Santa. We all see how sugar effects our children’s moods. An apple, crackers or string cheese, as a snack will help you have a better visit! And hungry kids are likelier to act out.

5. What NOT to Say

Be careful not to paint a scary picture of Saint Nick ahead of time. If you prep your child by saying “Don’t be afraid, Santa’s not going to hurt you,” you’ve introduced a possibility that may never have occurred to him. Instead, talk about how fun it will be, and show your child a picture of a sibling or a cousin perched happily on Santa’s lap.

Here are some words and phrases that you should try to avoid saying: “Now, don’t CRY.” “Don’t be AFRAID.” “Santa is not SCARY!”…

I suggest you do a lot of giggling, laughing, and smiling. DO say: “This is SO MUCH FUN!” “I like Santa!” “Santa is so nice.” “Look at all the pretty lights!” If you are going to “program” your child, do it with positive concepts that set the tone for the impending visit.

6. Go at a Slow Pace/ Your Child’s Pace

Little toddler girl with mother on Christmas market.

Allow your child to get warmed up to this situation on their terms. This may mean a couple pre-visits (watching Santa from afar) before your child willingly gets up onto Santa’s lap. That’s fine! Your goal is slow and steady with no trauma. However long it takes your child to get seated is not a reflection on you being a good/bad parent. Every child is different. Every Santa is different. Bells, lights, Christmas music and this huge, red-suited, hairy guy are holiday traditions that we all were taught by our families. It’s very unfamiliar territory to your little one though so enjoy the process!

Also, children’s perception of time is very different from ours so walk away, do some window shopping and return 20 minutes later… To a child, it’s now a whole new day! Try again. Perhaps your child will get close enough for a “high 5” or a fist bump this time rather than just watching from afar. Keep working at it! Get a little closer each time.

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7. Be Santa’s Helper

Talk to Santa one-on-one to help your child grow more accustomed to him. Have your spouse, a family member, or a trusted friend distract your child for a moment while you have a little chat with Santa. Explain your child’s fears and offer suggestions on how he can reassure your child. Tell him the name of your family pet or your child’s favorite toy or activity so that he can bring it up in conversation. He can say something like, “Your mom told me you’ve been doing so well in soccer this year” or “Mommy said you have a dog named Barkley. Tell me about him.”

8. Parents & Siblings

If you have older children, allow your little ones to watch their older siblings as they visit with Santa. Let your child assimilate the concept that “visiting with Santa is fun” on their own. If you do not have older children, when you get to the front of the line, ask if your child can watch a few other children as they visit Santa before you and your child take your turn.

9. Be a Good Example

Let your child watch as YOU go up and greet and hug Santa. Sit next to Santa for a moment so your child understands you are signaling this is a “safe” situation. Call your child onto your lap. Place your child on the far knee, away from Santa, using you as a safety buffer between your child and Santa. Perhaps getting the candy cane treat is the next great achievement. Take the candy and say your goodbyes. Success at this stage may be having a shorter, happy experience. That’s fine! Next time the child may even go up alone as long as they see a parent’s reassuring face is close by. By age 4, most children will go willingly to Santa as they understand the request & receive concept by then.

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10. Do’s and Don’ts

As a quick recap and some extra pointers, here are my recommendations to help your child ease into the Santa visit and make it a good experience for all:

  • DO read books with pictures of Santa to your child days before your visit. It gets them used to seeing jolly old Saint Nick.
  • DON’T have picture day with Santa at the mall on the weekends. Crowds, chaos, and Christmas don’t mix well.
  • DO take them a few days earlier to see the layout of Santa’s house and to show them other kids interacting with Santa.
  • DON’T be uptight and stressed. A child can sense what you’re feeling, and will react the same way.
  • DO dress them in comfortable clothing. The fancy dress and bow tie may look cute, but may not be so comfortable adding to the stress of your child.
  • DO talk to them when you’re in line. Talk about how much fun you’re having and maybe glance over the book you shared earlier.
  • DO distract your child if you hear another child with Santa crying. Start singing a Christmas carol and have them join in.
  • DON’T let someone else grab your child to put him/her on Santa’s lap. The grabbing scares a child, and when it’s a stranger doing it — it impacts the fear.
  • DON’T force a child to sit on Santa’s lap, if they don’t want too. It sends the wrong message and could make your child fear Santa in the future.
  • DON’T yell or get angry with your child, because they’re upset. That confuses them, because they know you as their protector.
  • DO comfort your child if they’re upset, and tell them “it’s ok.” Leave the area right away, but don’t panic.
  • REMEMBER there’s always next year. 🙂

All in all, don’t expect perfection. Parents tend to have high expectations at this time of year for how everything should go. Don’t be disappointed if the photo doesn’t work out the way you had hoped. What now seems like a missed opportunity for a “perfect” picture with Santa may become a special photo in future years because it captured that visit to Santa.

Happy holidays!

About the Author /

Nina is The Baby Chick® & CEO of Baby Chick®. She is a baby planner, birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator, newborn care specialist, and a mother. With over eight years of experience, she has supported hundreds of families during their pregnancies, births, and postpartum journeys.

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You know you have a newborn when _______.⁠
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YES 👏 IT 👏 DOES👏⁠ Go and find your troo YES 👏 IT 👏 DOES👏⁠
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📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
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An amazing story from a determined mom to breastfe An amazing story from a determined mom to breastfeed her #triplets. 💗 With hard work, determination, help and support, anything is possible.
Words & 📷: @triplets_and_toddler
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“I breastfed my first child so I knew I wanted to #breastfeed again. People were skeptical about me #breastfeeding triplets, and this drove my determination! 💪 My boys were born at 29+3 and therefore it was so important for them to have #breastmilk! 🤱
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After having an emergency C-section, I knew there was no time to rest, so I started hand expressing within the first hour. I set an alarm to ensure that I expressed every 2 hours during the day and every 3 hours overnight. ⏰
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Being separated from my boys was hard so having pictures/video links helped whilst I expressed. Seeing my teeny, vulnerable babies in their little incubators drove my determination to provide them with my milk! I also rotated muslin squares between us so that I could smell them and vice versa. This also helped me whilst I expressed during the night away from my boys. Their smell on the swaddles kept me focused! 💙
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Twice during our #NICU journey my boys were split between hospitals over an hour apart! This was the hardest time and meant I was separated from 2 of my boys for a couple of days. During this time I kept up with expressing and ensured that all three of them had enough milk to take with them until we were all reunited.
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Looking back I feel it is my sheer determination that has really enabled me to successfully breastfeed my triplet boys! Not once have they needed donor or formula milk. It required a massive commitment both physically and emotionally but I am so proud of my achievement! My boys are now 11 months and are still breastfeeding." ❤️
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*This story is not to bring any mothers down that choose to formula feed. (I, personally, had to give my son formula at 7 months old!) We share this mother's story to inspire mothers and celebrate our victories! ✨
If you are having breastfeeding struggles and want to succeed, contact a good local IBCLC and receive support. Find new mom friends who are also breastfeeding who can encourage you. And if you choose to formula feed, we honor you too. 💕 #mommychick
WTF 😑⁠ (via @thenatewolf via Twitter)⁠ .⁠ WTF 😑⁠
(via @thenatewolf via Twitter)⁠
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Repeat after me . . . 💗⁠ (quote via @friscoar Repeat after me . . . 💗⁠
(quote via @friscoareamoms)⁠
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🧠 4 Ways to Promote Your Child's Mental Health 🧠 4 Ways to Promote Your Child's Mental Health 🧠⁠
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Your child’s mental health is fairly complicated. It's also critical to their overall health and wellness. We often think of mental health as it pertains to adults, but just like growth and physical development, research shows that mental health is something that should be considered starting at birth. ❤️⁠
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When children are very young, their brains are extremely sensitive to environmental stress. Toxic stress, defined as high levels of prolonged stress, can have life-long effects on children. Limiting stress for young children is critical for their early mental health. One of the most fundamental ways we can help eliminate toxic stress is by building a strong relationship foundation from the very beginning of their lives. Your relationship with your baby is an integral part of their sense of self-esteem, independence, and confidence; three key factors in mental health.⁠
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Building that relationship with your child can be broken down into four key concepts . . . {Click 🔗 in bio to find out what they are!}⁠
📷: @vlentine⁠
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#parenting #parenthood #parentlife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Just in case you call her a boy, here's a MASSIVE Just in case you call her a boy, here's a MASSIVE bow that shows she's a girl . . . yet still somehow get's called a boy. 🤷⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
💤 Good Bedtime Routines for Babies of Every Age 💤 Good Bedtime Routines for Babies of Every Age 💤⁠
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If you’ve ever typed into Google, “Why won’t my baby sleep?” you’re not alone. In fact, you’re among thousands of other parents/caregivers who are likely as tired as you are. Chances are, if you have gone down the Google rabbit hole at 2:00 a.m. (or just asked your pediatrician for sleep advice), then you’ve most likely been introduced to the concept of a bedtime routine.⁠
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A bedtime routine can be an incredibly helpful tool in establishing healthy sleep habits and good sleep hygiene. Infants and young children thrive on routine; in fact, they are comforted by predictability (spoiler alert: most adults are this way, too!). Plus, a young mind is exposed to so much new information every day that it’s reassuring for a child to know that they can depend on certain events to have a predictable structure.⁠
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Bedtime routines are also a cue to their brains and bodies that sleep is coming. With a predictable bedtime routine, your little one will start to recognize the order of the routine and begin to anticipate what comes next. With enough repetition, this process happens automatically in a very Pavlovian way. A calm and successive routine will also make the onset of sleep come more easily. Can you imagine if you walked out of your workout and immediately someone told you that you had to lay down and fall asleep? This would be nearly impossible, and the same is true for our little ones. By allowing them some time to unwind, you are making the falling asleep process that much easier. Here are some tips on what to do for your little one's bedtime. ❤️⁠ {Click 🔗 in bio to read more!}⁠
📷: @hannahxruth⁠
Article by: @ohbabyconsulting⁠
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#babysleep #goodnight #bedtime #bedtimeroutine #nightnight #sweetdreams #sleepconsultant #babysleeptips #sleepcoach #parenting #sleeptips #motherhood #babylove #sleeptraining #parentingtips #sleeping #toddlersleep #sleephelp #parentinghelp #sleepcoaching #parenthood #sleepdeprived #sleeptraininghelp #babysleepconsultant #babychick #mommychick #momlife
THIS. The struggle is real.⁠ ⁠🥴 📷: @brit THIS. The struggle is real.⁠ ⁠🥴
📷: @britt.kav⁠
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#parenting #parenthood #parentlife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #momhumor
It's the beeeeeessssttttt . . . 😬😑 (quote vi It's the beeeeeessssttttt . . . 😬😑
(quote via @smalltowntallgirl)⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
🤗 7 Tips for Raising Secure and Happy Kids 🤗 🤗 7 Tips for Raising Secure and Happy Kids 🤗⁠
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Parenting is hard. And ever so important. But sometimes it feels like we need to have a special degree in “Managing Toddler Mood Swings” to navigate some of the unexpected scenarios that come with raising secure and happy children.⁠
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Like how do we handle a child that likes to scream instead of talk?⁠
“Please, child, just lower your voice while we’re in Target.”⁠
Or what are we supposed to do when a child prefers to strip down every time we get them dressed or only eat foods that are the color blue?! (In case you’re wondering, there aren’t many blue foods.)⁠
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It can feel tricky and tiring to try and do it all right and then sometimes still feel like you’re at a loss. But the truth is, there’s never any way to make everything perfect. But there are things we can do that set our children up to feel secure and happy. And here are seven of my favorite tips. {Click 🔗 in bio to read more!}⁠
📷: @lauren.stewart_dc⁠
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#parenting #parenthood #parentlife #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Any oldie but goodie by @spiritysol⁠. ❤️⁠ Any oldie but goodie by @spiritysol⁠. ❤️⁠
Cesarean mamas--this one's for you. I hope you know that you are worthy. That you are such a warrior. That you are brave and powerful and strong as f✨ck. I hope you know that birthing your baby on an operating table makes you no less of a mother. No less of a goddess. Your birth story is holy and that beautiful scar on your belly is sacred as sh✨t. You are worthy of praise and celebration, honor and  admiration.⁠
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I hope that you know it was worth it. Knowing this does NOT mean you can't mourn your dream. It does NOT mean "you and your baby are safe--that's all that matters!" It does NOT mean you can't wish things had gone differently. But I hope that underneath it all, you can find beauty in what was. What is. Your baby. Your birth. Your strength. Your healing. Your story.⁠
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Your journey wasn't easy. Perhaps it unfolded much differently than you had hoped--perhaps it shook you to your core and left you feeling the immense weight of a "what if" and why".⁠
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Perhaps you're still wading through the heavy emotions of disappointment, anger, and grief. Perhaps you always will. But whatever feelings you hold in your heart and in your womb, I hope that you can look at your scar and say "Hell yes, it was worth it. And hell ya, I am worthy."⁠
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*This post was written for mamas who might be struggling with an unexpected or undesired cesarean birth. I recognize that there are mamas that choose to have planned/elective cesarean births who might not resonate with the message in this post. I honor them as well--as I honor all mothers, all women, and all beings.⁠
Words & 📷: @spiritysol⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #birth #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #cesareanbirth #bellybirth #postpartum #newmom #childbirth #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Because I gave him the wrong colored cup . . . whi Because I gave him the wrong colored cup . . . which is the color he originally asked for.⁠
🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️⁠
(quote via @HenpeckedHal via Twitter)⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Hope they're ready for us!⁠ 👯‍♀️⁠
📷: @myquestionablelife⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
" . . . Tears contain stress hormones. Why would w " . . . Tears contain stress hormones. Why would we have tears if they didn't serve a purpose? Little hurts can feel big when you are little. There is no such things as no reason to cry. Comforting a crying child is not the same as shutting them down, no matter how sweetly we shut them down . . . up actually." - Pam Leo⁠
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#gentleparenting #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #parenting #parentlife #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #mommychick #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #healing #mentalhealth
"Every diaper change is a struggle⁠ Goldfish cru "Every diaper change is a struggle⁠
Goldfish crumbs are literally everywhere.⁠
Nothing stays in the correct place.⁠
Dramatic meltdowns are a part of our daily routine.⁠
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Being a mother to a new toddler is so challenging, and every day I'm not sure what to expect! But, even on the days where I think I'm going nuts, it's so worth getting to watch my daughter grow into her own person. I love seeing her personality expand with each day.⁠
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I won't lie though, I do get a tad bit freaked out sometimes! I mean I've never heard anyone nail the sound of a pterodactyl better than my daughter, when she's having a meltdown. 😂😳"⁠
Repost: @postpartum⁠
Words & 📷: @tori.mccain⁠
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Share your worst/funniest toddler meltdown stories below! I'm sure almost all of us mamas who have a toddler can relate. 🙋⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
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