Tips for Sitting with Santa

March 2, 2015

SantaReady or not, the Christmas season is here! The holidays are full of precious traditions, and one we all look forward to is having the adorable, framed photo our little ones on Santa’s lap. As a parent of a child with communication, behavioral, or developmental difficulties, this can be quite a task! Our therapists gave us a few tips to share with you to help make this a memorable (and achievable!) experience for you and your kiddos.

  1. Scout out the location in advance. If your child doesn’t do well in new, unusual environments, take them to the location a few days before to get a lay of the land. Point out the workshop, snow, trees, and presents that are in the backdrop. Walk them through the process of waiting in line and taking the picture, and tell them how much fun it will be!
  2. Read a Christmas book or show your child pictures of Santa before your visit. This will keep them from being surprised or overwhelmed when they see his big, white beard and bright, red suit.
  3. Avoid weekends. Any Santa spot will be packed on the weekend, meaning tons of noise and crowds. Try to sneak the photo in on a weekday after work!
  4. Pick out a comfortable outfit for your child. An itchy dress or bowtie would look cute, but if your child is uncomfortable it can add stress to the situation for them. If you have an outfit you just can’t pass up on, let him or her practice wearing the outfit a few times in the weeks prior to the picture.
  5. Don’t let one of Santa’s helpers place your child on Santa’s lap. Having a stranger take them from mom or dad could reinforce any apprehension they may have.
  6. Check out Sensory Santa this Sunday! Santa will be at Cortana Mall for pictures from 9:00 am to 11:30 am, before the mall opens for business. This will provide a calmer experiences for any little ones with sensory sensitivities. Families Helping Families hosts this event and will have multiple vendors offering holiday activities to all families at no charge! Space is limited, so make sure to RSVP to pcedotal@fhfgbr.org or twilson@fhfgbr.org.
  7. Enjoy the experience! Even if the end product isn’t “picture perfect,” every picture with Santa is a memorable keepsake!