Child psychologists say "Santa phobia" can be a real concern for parents who actually help create it. Parents focus on teaching their children to not talk to strangers let alone sit on a strangers' lap, but at Christmastime that all goes out the window and they say it is okay to sit on Santa's lap. Child psychologist say this can be a big adjustment for kids, especially when you are standing in the middle of a noisy mall with a big crowd of people.
Dr. Richards says if a child does not want to sit on Santa's lap, don't fight it. She says parents can suggest other ways to get their message to Santa. And for parents who have kids who are a little unsure, she recommends explaining everything in advance, so children know exactly what to expect.
"Do a lot of preparation with them ahead of time. So, there's going to be a big line, maybe we should bring something to entertain ourselves in line, and when we get up there, here how it's going to work: we're going to sit down and tell him what we want and he has a big booming voice and a beard and just really making sure that they're prepared," she said.