Dealing With Santa Phobia

December 8, 2011 Updated Dec 8, 2011 at 7:45 PM EDT

By WKBW News

December 8, 2011 Updated Dec 8, 2011 at 7:45 PM EDT

(WKBW/Cleveland Clinic) The holiday season is an exciting time of year for children, and one of the age-old traditions is to have the kids sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they'd like to see under their tree, but not every child may be on board with that idea.

Doctors say there are lots of reasons kids can have "Santa phobia".

Dr. Margaret Richards of the Cleveland Clinic says, "We're very focused on don't talk to strangers, certainly don't go sit on a stranger's lap, but then at Christmastime all of that goes out the window, so that can be a big adjustment for kids."

Doctors say if a child does not want to sit on Santa's lap, don't fight it.

They say parents can suggest other ways to get their message to Santa, and for parents who have kids who are a little unsure, doctors recommend explaining to the child what's going to happen to decrease any potential stressors.

Dr. Richards says, " Do a lot of preparation with them ahead of time. Tell them there's going to be a big line, and when they get up there, say, 'Here's how it's going to work: we're going to sit down and
tell him what we want and he has a big booming voice and a beard'. Just really making sure that they're prepared."

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