It’s that time of the year, when mom’s everywhere are schlepping the kids to the nearest mall or shopping center in order to visit “Santa”. Although this experience is supposed to be fun as well as a great photo opp, for some children the experience can also be rather daunting and even a little scary. Here are some tips to help your experience with “Santa” be a happy experience with no humbug whatsoever!
Be Flexible: Your child may seem super excited about visiting Santa and then as soon as he/she lays eyes on him, it’s as if a wave of panic overtakes him/her. The last thing you want to do is traumatize your child over Santa, as this is supposed to be fun, right? If your child changes his/her mind, don’t push it. Even if you’ve already invested an hour waiting in line to see the jolly ol’ boy, if your child suddenly is too scared to go through with it, so be it.
Beat the Crowds: If at all possible, arrive early to see Santa, perhaps on a day of the week when it’s likely to be less crowded than others. Getting there early will accomplish several things that will increase your chances of having a positive Santa experience. First of all, no kid (big or small) enjoys waiting in a long line. Long lines and waits can equate to cranky kids and even crankier mommies. Avoid this as much as you can. If your child is a bit nervous about meeting Santa, a long wait in line is likely to only exacerbate this whole feeling, especially if any other nearby little ones are crying or acting scared.
Find a Good Santa: There are wide ranges of talent when it comes to seasonal Santa’s, so ask your friends which ones they have gone to visit and see what their experience was like. Look for one that is friendly and jolly of course, and avoid any that are impatient, too blah or especially those that are creepy. Other moms are the best source of info when it comes to finding the best Santa to visit, so asking your mom posse for the scoop is a great place to start!
Don’t Rush It: Yes, those Santa Helper’s want to keep the line moving and all that--but when it’s finally your child’s turn for the big Santa moment, take your time and let your child approach Santa at his/her own pace. Slowly introduce your child to Santa before just shoveling him/her onto his lap. Start a little conversation between the ol’ guy and your kid to warm things up. You will know if it’s going well and you are going to get that special photo--or not.
Cover The Basics: Talk to your child in advance about what to expect when visiting Santa so there are no surprises. Make absolutely sure your child is neither hungry or tired as these factors can be challenging to overcome and even if your child goes through with the visit, the pictures you get may not be the best. If your child is under the weather, save the Santa visit for another day when he/she is feeling better. Have some good distractions in your purse/diaper bag “just in case”--including non-messy snacks, small toys or even an app on your phone that they can play with.
Visiting Santa will hopefully be a positive and fun experience that your child will be excited about. Following these tips is bound to help you get that perfect picture with Santa that we know you want, too.