Why My Toddler Doesn’t Have to Sit on Santa’s Lap

Bunny is a few short months away from being 3 years old. We haven’t really talked about Santa and she doesn’t know the whole Santa brings presents, has a naughty and nice list, and so forth. Not because we don’t like this or don’t believe in it, simply because she hasn’t asked and we don’t feel the need to tell her about it yet. To her, Santa is a guy she saw last Christmas who gave her a candy cane. She likes seeing Santa in books and in decorations, but when she sees a real live Santa, Bunny wants nothing to do with him!

Last year Bunny got close enough to Santa to be handed a candy cane. I was right next to her. She was not comfortable enough to talk to him or be near him. This year Bunny has seen Santa decorations and has read books about Santa. She seemed excited to see Santa! Until she actually saw Santa in person. When Bunny saw Santa she didn’t want to go anywhere near him. She didn’t even want a candy cane from him. We told her she didn’t have to see him, didn’t have to talk to him, didn’t have to sit with him. We respected her fear and decision to NOT sit on Santa’s lap.

Bunny had another opportunity to see Santa. She did not want to see him but did want the candy cane. Gotta love toddlers! Bunny and I approached Santa but stopped when she became uncomfortable. She waved at him, he waved back and said a few words, she received her candy cane and we left.

Do we have a photo of Bunny with Santa? Nope. While I understand Santa is fun and a wonderful tale and tradition to pass on, I also understand it is not okay to force my child to do something she is uncomfortable with. We have chosen not to make Bunny or Baby Sister sit on Santa’s lap. One day, if Bunny or Baby Sister decide they would like to sit with Santa, we are all for it. But right now, when Bunny is learning the boundaries of personal space, we will not force her. We constantly teach her this is her body and she is in charge of it. Nobody can force her to do something with her body that she doesn’t want to do. Including sitting on Santa’s lap.

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3 thoughts on “Why My Toddler Doesn’t Have to Sit on Santa’s Lap”

  1. Totally agree with Santa’s lap! I have a 4 year old that has never done it. We talk about Santa at our house. Each year we encourage her not to be scared. This year she stood right next to him and talked to him. Next year she may even sit. We don’t push it, and I think that helps for her to go at her own pace!

    1. Allowing children to go at their own pace is such a gift! That is great she stood next to him and talked to him!

  2. I was moved reading your post. It’s amazing you’re teaching your child boundaries from a young age.

    “We constantly teach her this is her body and she is in charge of it. Nobody can force her to do something with her body that she doesn’t want to do.” — this is really golden.

    I can relate so much because I just learnt what boundaries are in my year of recovery at Codependents Anonymous. (I just blogged about that too.)

    You go, mama! 🙂

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