When it comes to Santa Claus, a Kansas State University expert says let children believe in the jolly old elf as long as they want.
Jared Durtschi, an assistant professor in Kansas State University's marriage and family therapy program, says there is no particular age when a child should stop believing in Santa, and that children will often come to realize the truth gradually as they grow older.
"I don't think it's necessary for parents to decide upon a time to tell their children there is no Santa," Durtschi said. "As children develop, the magical thinking that is so common in kids, which allows them to so readily accept all the details of Santa Claus, will give way and they will soon figure it out on their own."
Durtschi said that by telling the truth about Santa before a child has figured it out on his or her own, parents might unintentionally lessen the excitement of the Christmas season for their children.
"Christmas tends to be more fun for those kids who believe in Santa compared to those who do not," he said. "It may be unnecessary to spoil the excitement for the child until they outgrow the belief."