TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Sample “apology letters” from Santa Claus are being shared online by parents that are worried about their children being upset when the year’s hottest toy, the Hatchimal, isn’t under the Christmas tree. Most of the letters promise that a Hatchimal will arrive after Christmas.
Is that a bad idea?
News Channel 8 had Parenting Educator Paige Michaelis review the letters, and give her opinion on them.
“The one thing that came to mind for me when I was reading the letter was ‘wow that’s a lot of follow up for the parents!’,” chuckles Michaelis, who runs the blog 1MinuteMommy.com.
She says there are a few things to consider before determining whether or not to give the letter to your kids. First, drill down why your child wants a Hatchimal, or any hot toy. Is it simply because it’s popular?
Then, examine its play-ability. And finally, ask yourself if you’ll be upset if your child only plays with the toy for a day.
“The Hatchimal is a big wish-list item. If it’s something that the parents have agreed on, then the letter makes sense,” says Michaelis.
When it comes to any Christmas gift, Michaelis recommends parents determine the expectations that will be set for children. That means setting a financial budget, and also establishing the message about family values that are being communicated with gifting.
Then, communicate those expectations and boundaries with children in advance of Christmas. And, keep in mind that a little disappointment builds resilience.
“Of course we don’t want to disappoint our kids,” Michaelis says. “But tell yourself, if it’s not realistic for our family, that really is a path we need to go down.”
If, even after you’ve set expectations, there are tears on Christmas day, approach your kids’ feelings with empathy.
“Tell them, ‘I get it. I really really do. You’re really sad.’ Helping to identify the feelings that they’re having is helpful,” says Michaelis.
When it comes to expensive items, such as phones or gaming systems, get the whole family involved in the decision making. Discuss the pros and cons, what the rules of use will be, and how the item will be paid for. Doing so gives children a vested interest in the investment.