Your Child Fear Santa Claus?
Four Tips to Help from a Pediatrician
By Dr. Jennifer Snyder
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[December 02, 2016]
SPRINGFIELD – All you want for
Christmas is a picture-perfect photo of your child sitting on
Santa’s lap to share with the world on social media, holiday cards
and texts to grandparents.
Unfortunately, your child won’t set foot near the bearded bearer of
Dr. Jennifer Snyder, a pediatrician at Memorial Physician
Services-Koke Mill, is a mom of a 3-year-old and a 16-month-old. She
understands parents’ enthusiasm for holiday pictures, but as a
physician, she also recognizes how some children experience anxiety
over the much heralded meeting.
“Keep in mind, children might be afraid of Santa for a multitude of
reasons – his beard, clothing, voice, size,” Snyder said. “Fears of
Santa are normal in the roughly 1- to 6-year age bracket, so don’t
be concerned something is wrong with your child’s development.”
Snyder shared some tips to remember before getting in line to meet
Familiarize your child with Santa by reading books or watching
movies that project him in a positive light, she said. Make a wish
list for Santa and take it to the mailbox. The more you talk about
Santa, the more he will become a comfortable character.
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Do a “trial run.” Go to the mall one day and walk by Santa. Let
your kids see other children on his lap, Snyder said. Talk with them
about who Santa is without any pressure for the child to sit on his
lap that day.
Take one for the team and offer to sit on Santa’s lap first to show
your kids it is OK. Not only will it be a fun photo op, but it may
help reassure your children and lighten the mood, she said.
Never punish or make your child feel bad if they are afraid of
Santa. Remember, this is a developmental stage they will eventually
outgrow, Snyder said, and all children need to maintain an element
of “stranger danger” in order to ensure their safety.
[Michael Leathers, Memorial Health