As Christmas rolls around, so too does the desire to capture an image of your cherubs with the jolly man himself, Santa Claus.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get a great snap of the kids, sitting calmly with a smile on their face, and looking at the camera. Chances are however, that the kids will be screaming, looking overwhelmed or just plain terrified.
Kids are frightened of Santa, and there is mounting evidence on the internet of this phenomena. Although we wish it to be otherwise, it makes sense that they are. As their parents, we remind them often about stranger danger, taking things – especially lollies – from people they don’t know and warn them of being overly-familiar with unfamiliar faces.
Then, once a year, we not only expect them to speak to this strange man, but sit on his lap and take things from him. It can be a little confusing.
Santa is also rather big and rather loud, his face is mostly obscured and he’s wearing clothes more suited to snowy climes than the Australian summer. It can be a little disconcerting.
Whilst the message of stranger danger is vital, you can help your child feel comfortable with Santa, without causing them angst or giving them mixed messages.
Give them time to watch Santa chat with other children so they can see that he is actually nice and friendly. Let them become familiar with his behaviour and ways of doing things and don’t rush or pressure them into speaking to him or sitting on his lap.
Most importantly, you need to show that Santa is approachable and that you are comfortable with him. Children pick up a lot from your reactions and behaviours towards circumstances and people.
You never know he might just grant you your Christmas wish as well!