Toddler Is Afraid of Santa

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Tips for Calming Santa Fears

1. Prepare her for the season. Set out in your home two or three small Christmas related objects. Include a little Santa Claus doll. Your daughter can approach these objects as she desires. Eventually she'll play with them. Through play children overcome their fears and misunderstandings of objects and events. When playing she's be in control rather than feeling out of control when bombarded with the overwhelming sights and sounds of the season.

2. Help her manage her fears. When your daughter becomes frightened of a Santa or a Christmas related object, simply hold her, but don't try to explain her fear away by saying. Be empathetic and let her know you understand what she's feeling.

Try saying something like, "I understand that you're afraid of Santa, that he scares you." Then explain that you're not afraid of Santa because you know he's a friendly person who gives children toys, and that he will not harm her. Let her see your confidence as you talk with her.

3. Avoid isolating her. Don't completely keep her from experiencing Christmas related events. If you're walking downtown and see a department store window decorated for the season, tell her it's coming up, hold her as she views the scene from a distance.

4. Get her involved in the spirit of the season. Let her help with wrapping packages, decorating, and baking. Offer these activities in little bits and pieces. When baking, ask her, "Would you like to make tree, Santa or star cookies?" By letting her choose, it puts her in charge which ultimately will help her manage her Christmas-related fears.

5. Make up a story. Start by saying, "Once upon a time there was a little girl who was frightened of Santa Claus." Elaborate on her particular fears and then end by saying, "One day, the little girl was no longer afraid of Santa. She still wouldn't sit on his lap, but she liked to look at him and think about the presents he would bring on Christmas morning. This little girl lived happily ever after."

Eventually your daughter will overcome her fear of all things Santa, but you'll need to have the patience to help her do it.


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