Editor’s note: This article suggests that Santa Claus might not be real and may not be suitable for readers under age 8.
SALT LAKE CITY — Can you still keep the magic of Christmas alive if your kids stop believing in Santa?
Santa Claus is a fantastical element of Christmas who can bring joy each December to every good little boy and girl. He’s also a convenient tool of motivation for parents to use throughout the year: You better be nice because Santa’s always watching!
But the inevitability of your child finding out that Santa might be a myth will happen sooner than you think.
A 2011 AP poll found 84 percent of U.S. adults believed in Santa Claus at some point in their childhood, and the average age when kids stop believing is 8 years old.
It’s a personal choice whether families allow their kids to believe in Santa, but psychologists say it’s OK for those who keep the magic alive.
"Santa is just one of the many fantasy figures that exists in a preschooler's world," child psychologist Bruce Henderson of Western Carolina University told Live Science. "Adults might just be wasting time trying to get a child at that age to give up on such a warm and fuzzy character to accept adult realities."
But when your child does figure it out, what should you say? How can you tell them the truth and still keep that special Christmas feeling for years to come?
Leave a comment below and tell us how your kids found out about Santa and what you’ve done to keep Christmas magical. Your response could be featured in an upcoming article.