The Secret to a Cry-Free Santa Visit with a Toddler

The Secret to a Cry-Free Santa Visit with a Toddler featured by top DC mommy blogger, Baby Castan on Board: toddler with Santa

We have a very interesting relationship with Santa in our house. Over the last three years, Aiden has been more and more interested in Santa but has never been a big fan of actually meeting him and especially not sitting in his lap. This time we feel like we’ve finally figured out the secrets to a cry-free toddler Santa visit so I thought I would share them here.

The Secret to a Cry-Free Santa Visit with a Toddler featured by top DC mommy blogger, Baby Castan on Board: toddler registering to see Santa

Aiden’s first Santa visit was when he was maybe two weeks old. He obviously doesn’t remember that experience and he slept through it anyway šŸ˜† If you do have a sleepy baby this is a really cute picture idea that I am so glad the photographer recommended.

The Secret to a Cry-Free Santa Visit with a Toddler featured by top DC mommy blogger, Baby Castan on Board

Last year looked like this….

This year, I was determined to make visiting Santa as painless as possible.

Here are my Tips for a Smooth Santa Visit!

Pick a date in advance. We picked a date and started talking about his Santa visit. The week we were going to visit Santa I brought the visit up every day and was always really excited and positive about it.

Roleplay. We practiced our speech. I reminded Aiden that Santa would ask what he wanted. The funny thing is he kept saying I want red and green. I finally figured out that he wanted to ask for red and green trains so I reminded him every time not to forget the train part.

Meet Santa in advance. In years past when we had a less than amazing experience trying to get a picture with Santa the photographer/helpers/elves (whatever you want to call them) always recommended bringing young toddlers BEFORE you actually get their pictures done. If you go during slow times, at least at our mall, they are good about letting younger kids in to meet with Santa without getting on his lap or taking a picture. We happened to be at the mall this year when they were setting up his “house” and then we visited a few days later and waved from far away. I think this helped Aiden see the progress and normalcy about Santa being there. Also, we attended a breakfast event where Santa came by to meet with all the kids before heading down to his display for the formal meeting and picture.

The Secret to a Cry-Free Santa Visit with a Toddler featured by top DC mommy blogger, Baby Castan on Board: Santa speaking to toddler

Visit an interactive Santa display. We always go to the Fair Oaks mall where they have Santa’s Flight Academy. It is a really fun experience for kids. Gone are the days of waiting in a long line with nothing to do. You actually get a cadet badge which you scan at various points throughout the experience and there are several activities before even getting to Santa. I think this makes it more fun and relaxing and takes some of the pressure off. I also love that it’s a very personalized experience. Anytime Aiden scanned his badge, including when he got to Santa, his name popped up.

Go early! This seems obvious but the earlier in the season and day you go the shorter the lines for your Santa visit will be and the more time they can take with you if your toddler is uneasy. Plus, if it goes really bad and you don’t get a picture, you have time to keep working and then come back.

Don’t stress. If you are like me, I worry that we won’t get a picture or he will freak out and cry. This doesn’t really help the situation. If you stay calm and act normal chances are your toddler will too.

I am so happy to say that this year Aiden was a champion at meeting Santa! I looked away for a second and he was already on Santa’s lap without any help from mom or dad, and he gave a great smile. He even had a conversation with Santa. I was a proud mama šŸ™‚ The funniest part was that when I went up to pull Aiden off Santa’s lap, Santa told me “he wants red and green…” šŸ˜† I let Santa know it was red and green trains!

Have you used any of these tips when visiting Santa with your toddler? I would love to hear what worked during your last Santa visit!

If you liked this post check out The Best Holiday Pajamas for Toddlers and The Christmas Snowflake: A Personalized Christmas Story.


Hi, Iā€™m Melissa! I am a mama to an energetic preschooler and newborn, a wife to my amazing husband Dan, and I work full-time as a meeting planner. I started this blog because, after having my first little guy, I quickly learned that exhaustion and baby brain causes you to forget some of the amazing (sometimes horrible and sometimes wonderful) details related to the first several months of raising a baby. Realizing that we would probably have more kids in the future, I wanted to document everything, so we would remember what worked the first time around, and hopefully help other first time mamas along the way!

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