MI Child Counseling: When Do Children Stop Believing In Santa Claus?

santa claus

Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas – whatever title you call him in your household, chances are Santa has played a role in your child’s life. A staggering 83% of five year olds in America believe in Santa, but that number drops to 33% for nine year olds. This brings up an important question: When do children stop believing in Santa Claus? What should I do to help my child during this transition? Here are some answers from our child counselors in Michigan.

When Do Most Children Stop Believing In Santa Claus?

There are several different circumstances that influence a child’s belief (or non-belief) in Santa. For instance, a child with older siblings may stop believing at a younger age because his brothers and sisters no longer believe. A child’s religion could also play a role in when he or she stops believing. About half of children across all religious groups stop believing between the ages of 5 and 8, while another third stop believing between 9 and 12. Our child may change his or her beliefs before or after those age groups – if he or she chooses to believe at all.

Signs Your Child No Longer Believes In Santa Claus

Most children will start asking questions when they no longer believe in Santa Claus. “Is Santa real?” “How does Santa accomplish X, Y, and Z?” The questions can come in many forms, but they are signs that your child is contemplating the concept of Santa.

Your child may also show resentment when you say something about Santa – “Mom, I know that was you.” Some children slowly transition out of the belief without any direct conversation about it. The parents just “know” and the children just “know.” There is no need for discussion.

What To Do When Your Child Asks Questions About Santa

You can choose how long you want to keep the magic alive in your household. If your child is older and is getting bullied at school for believing in Santa, you may need to have “the Santa talk.” Your family counselor or child counselor can help you through that process if your child is in therapy. Be as honest as you can, and respect any questions that your child asks you. Your child will be confused at first, but ultimately he or she will appreciate the honesty.