My worst nightmare is when a child comes up to me and asks, “Is Santa (Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Leprechauns) real”?
No matter how you answer, the next words out of their mouths are……” Tommy says Santa (Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Leprechaun) isn’t real!” It is a no win situation, no matter what I say.
I respect your right to tell your child what and what not to believe whether it is for religious reasons or you don’t want to lie to your child. But when it comes to school it is a difficult situation for the classroom teacher.
Last year I had a little girl that has always known the truth about Santa. I wouldn’t have known if her mother hadn’t told me. This year I have a boy that immediately, as soon as we started doing seasonal activities, announced on the playground to most of the first grade boys that Santa wasn’t real. Many, many unhappy parents.
What is the difference? Jane’s parents, in respect for the other parents, have always told her at each and every holiday to be sure not to tell the other children and she hasn’t. Samuel, however, hasn’t been reminded. Even though both his mother and I talked to him at Christmas, he has already tried to inform a child that the Easter Bunny isn’t real either. Luckily it was the first thing in the morning and he said it as the other child was walking away. I don’t think they heard him but I did. I was able to speak to him immediately to remind him not to talk about it. Then I sent out an email to all of my parents to ask them to remind their non believers to not ruin it for the others. I got several emails back reminding me that Samuel had told the children about Santa…..unhappy parents still not happy.
When its your own child you know when the time is right. I must have really done a great job keeping Santa, Leprechauns, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy real for my children. One day when my daughter was in 4th grade I picked her up from school. Thankfully, her little brother was not with me because she immediately asked “Mom, is the Tooth Fairy real”? Gulp! I told her no, but not to spoil it for her brother. She never asked about the others. I’m sure she figured it out. Her brother never asked either so I am sure at some point either she or a “Samuel” told him or he matured enough to figure it out on his own. Or maybe, he was a mini me……….
I personally kept my parents believing that I believed in Santa for a couple of years after I found my Santa present hidden in their closet. Until Christmas morning I thought it was just a present, but when it was under the tree from Santa, I knew.
Is believing in Santa and other seasonal characters bad? Recently, I saw an article about believing in Santa and creativity. Believing in Santa is one of the earliest opportunities a child has to imagine. You can’t believe in Santa and not try to imagine him coming down a chimney or the elves in his workshop. Or what does the Tooth Fairy do with the tooth? When you imagine you’re making movies in your head. If you can make movies in your head, you can comprehend what you are reading. If you can make movies in your head, you can write about what you are imagining. Better readers and writers are better students.
So, what do I say when a student asks me if Santa, Leprechauns, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy are real? I tell them that some children believe and some don’t and if they have questions, they need to talk to their parents. If they ask me if I believe, I tell them yes, I believe in what they represent and they have never questioned me further.