December 14, 2020


Have you ever wondered when should you tell kids the truth about Santa? Psychologist reveals age you should break the news.

Psychologist and parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson spoke about the controversial subject – and revealed when we should be telling our children the truth.

He said: “In my experience, kids get curious between the ages of five and seven.

“It’s a constant topic of conversation and like anything that’s supposed to be a secret: Knowledge is power.”

So if our little boys or girls come home from school, look up at us with those sad eyes and ask: “[Is Rudolph his favourite reindeer]? Ben in my class says he’s not,” how should we respond?

When Is the Right Time?

Dr Coulson says: “The right time to tell your child is as soon as they ask.

“If they’re old enough and curious enough to question, then they’re old enough to know the truth.”

“Once they get old enough to start to ask about Santa’s reality, ask them what prompted their questions. Encourage them to think critically. Can one guy really fly around the entire world and deliver that many gifts in one night? Has anyone ever seen a flying reindeer? How is anyone going to get down the chimney – really?”

“Have fun with it. Then ask them why you think you’ve encouraged them to believe in Santa. (Hint… it’s because you love them and want to give them special treats.)”

Debunking The Myths

Dr Coulston debunks the most common myths around why we should lie to our children about Santa.

“First, parents say “oh, it’s going to spoil the magic of Christmas if they know the truth”. My response: Bunkum!”

“Can you watch a movie and enjoy it even though you know it’s not true? Or read a novel and enjoy it while knowing it’s fiction? Of course. Kids role play, enjoy make-believe games, and have imaginary friends and this enhances their wellbeing and their lives.”

“Second, parents say, “but it won’t be as exciting on Christmas morning.” Ummm, your kids are getting gifts. They’re going to be excited. Guaranteed.”

“Third, parents worry that if their kids know Santa is a myth, they’ll lose power over them. The kids will play up because Santa isn’t real. Are you really going to be that much of a Scrooge at Christmas that you’re going to give gifts based on the naughty/nice list?”

Well, my youngest son will be 10 in February and he still happily plays along with the magic of Christmas.  He is currently sitting on the fence and I am definitely not about to push him either way! Let them enjoy the innocence of it for as long as possible.

How old was your child when they stopped believing in Santa? Share your comments below

  • I liked to keep the magic alive as long as possible


  • My daughter found out in year 3 from her friends. I guess no parents want to say it to their kids.


  • The magic of Christmas is something special and when they do have questions those questions are spoken about.


  • I was given a Christmas card when I was very young explaining where Santa Claus actually originated from. It was a heart warming story so when they asked I showed it to my boys and told them that even though he’s not here the spirit of Christmas lives on.


  • 6 years. They talk about it with friends at school.


  • I like this discussion and his responses. My son was close to 10, we managed to hold him off long enough but needed to answer honestly when he was nearing High School age.


  • My ist turned 7 year old is starting to notice the difference between the Santa’s we have seen this year. She pointed out that one was slightly more tanned than the other and ones beard was crinkly whereas the other was straight. I want her to stay innocent just a little longer so I told her a truth. Daddy changes to a darker brown when he is out in the sun, and sometimes daddy has a beard and others he doesn’t. If daddy can change in those ways so can Santa! Not sure she bought it, but when she decides he isn’t real we will ensure she still plays along for her younger siblings.


  • My nephews are 9 & 11 and they have questioned but keep getting told he exists. Just the other week they were questioning elf on the shelf but we’re still being told he moves by himself. As fun as it might be It’s really not what Christmas is about and I think it makes them lose trust in you always being honest with them.


  • We’ve never actively encouraged belief in Santa and have left it up to the kids to decide. Our Christmas is still just as magical because that’s not what Christmas is about.


  • This makes sense. I hadn’t thought of this as my daughter will be 3 soon and she asks now how does Santa get in coz we don’t have a chimney. They really are clever, curious and I agree that telling them the truth won’t spoil Christmas at all.


  • I figured it out at about 7 from memory but never told my parents I knew in case it meant I stopped getting gifts, I accidentally broke the news to my sister when she was 10 or 11 assuming she already knew but she had no idea… oops


  • My daughter says she believes. One of her friends told us that she didn’t believe in Santa, which was a shame as she was 6yo and had a 2yo brother. My daughter just ignored what she said. She loves putting cookies, milk and carrots out for Santa and his reindeers and writes them a Christmas note. In the morning she checks to see if they have been eaten. We also have Elf on the Shelf that she checks each morning in December to see where they’ve moved to. She loves the magic of Christmas.


  • I’ll let my kids believe for as long as they do. It’s cute and I love their spirit


  • I was so hurt to find out the truth as a child. Dont know if I want to do the whole Santa thing with my baby.

    • I’ve always told my kids that Santa once lived and that we remember his kindness with Xmas.


  • Definitely 5-7 is way to young and if a child in there in class wrecks it for the others shame on them shame on those parents for allowing their child to tell others no matter what their beliefs are its not about the gifts it about the fun and magic the imagination of kids


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