What do you do when your kids ask about Santa Claus? Do you nip their belief in the bud and tell them that Santa Claus is not real, or do you let them go on thinking that Santa Claus will be dropping by for milk and cookies on Christmas Eve?

According to Kansas State University researchers, it may be more important to let the kids to go on thinking that Santa Claus is real.

Kansas State University assistant professor Jared Durtschi says in a ScienceDaily.com feature that children will be able to come up with their own realizations sooner or later, so it's better to let them believe in the jolly old man while they still do. Durtschi adds that telling kids outright that Santa's not real may just lead parents to unintentionally spoil Christmas for children.

"I don't think it's necessary for parents to decide upon a time to tell their children there is no Santa," he says. "As children develop, the magical thinking that is so common in kids, which allows them to so readily accept all the details of Santa Claus, will give way and they will soon figure it out on their own."

It’s also good to know that there will come a point when children will still want to believe in Santa Claus, in spite of their logic telling them otherwise. This transition period may last from weeks to even years.

This period may elicit doubts in parents who would probably tiptoe around the subject. Durtschi recommends asking neutral questions such as, “What do you think about Santa Claus?” instead of “Do you believe in Santa Claus?” in order to gauge their own responses.

Although there may be other children with different beliefs about Santa, it’s important for parents to go with their own kids’ pace regarding the matter. After all, Christmas is for children, so let them enjoy the magic for as long as they can.

(Photo by larsjuh via Flickr Creative Commons)

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