We’ve all been there. You are ready to get that cute picture of your kid on Santa’s lap, but they want nothing to do with him. With two little ones of my own, I have been through this a couple times and am gearing up to try again this year. We had success last year but both of my boys have become more wary of strangers since, making this year a definite challenge. With the tips below, I am excited and looking forward to making the best of it and giving my sons a wonderful memory.
1. Introduce your child to the concept of Santa. I recently made a trip to the store and found this cute little Santa Pooh Bear that I got for my 2 1/2 year old. Winnie the Pooh is his favorite character and he was so excited to see him in different clothes. He was excited to point out the red hat, red coat, red pants, black belt, etc. Not looking to spend money? Family Video lets you rent children’s videos for free and there are several Christmas movies available. Look for one with Santa and point him out as you watch to familiarize your child with him. At this time of the year, there are usually television shows featuring Christmas episodes.
2. Visit Santa with no expectations. Before we try sitting my son with Santa, we will take him to see Santa in person once or twice. We will keep our distance and let Alex get excited that he recognizes him. I will point out the other kids sitting on his lap and let him see how excited they are.
3. If Santa allows it, bring a gift to have him give to your toddler. This would provide a distraction for your child and maybe even bring out a few smiles as he or she opens it.
4. Patience. If your child isn’t ready to meet Santa, just try again later. Sometimes they just aren’t in the right mood. Maybe your child is tired, hungry, teething, or just being ornery at the moment. If you don’t end up with the perfect photo, don’t worry. It is just a photo and you will have a chance again next year. What is important is spending time with your child and letting them experience Christmas. If you are upset and stressed trying to get the perfect photo, chances are it will backfire and your child will sense and mirror that stress.
5. Bring someone with you to take the photos. Chances are, as a parent, you are the best person to help your child relax. I would suggest taking your spouse, a relative or even close friend with you to take the photo. Some Santa locations will have a photographer on site or one of the elves may be able to help, so it may not even be necessary to bring another person.