Child Scared of Santa? 3 Tips To Prepare for the Photo Op

by |  December 4th, 2013

Not every young child considers the big man in the red suit jolly. Some kids are flat out frightened of Santa.

The reason for this is that young children cannot separate fantasy from reality and so have little understanding that a complete stranger dressed up in an odd way is going to make a great photo op.

How do you keep your little one from bawling on the lap of the bearded man? There is no guarantee, however, these 3 tips might help when you’re attempting that merry Santa photo op.

Baby Steps. (Take it slow.) Explain to your child what will happen during the photo session, read books about Santa in advance and let him watch others in line before it’s his turn. If there’s time, try a mall run where your child can see Santa before sitting for photos.

Timing is Key. A hungry, sleepy child is not going to be in the mood for photos, let alone meeting Santa. Time the session after your child has eaten and not too close to nap time.

Arrive Prepared.Make sure to pack your child’s favorite blanket or toy to keep him calm. These can also be used to induce a smile for the camera when the child is sitting on Santa’s lap. Before you get to Santa, there may be a long line so pack extra snacks and diapers, just in case.

If your child erupts into a temper tantrum than your best bet might be to leave. Check out my blog on Taming Toddler Temper Tantrums for more tips.

Good luck!

Ari Brown, MD

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411 Pediatrics


Dr. Ari Brown founded 411 Pediatrics and After Hours Care in Austin after two decades of education and experience in child development, behavioral pediatrics and pediatric healthcare. Our pediatric associates, consisting of pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and lactation consultants, share a common goal. We partner with parents to help children grow up healthy, happy, and resilient!

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