Just over half of children (52%) still believe in Father Christmas at the age of eight, our survey has found.
We asked over 1,000 MFM mums and discovered that the average age at which your little ones grow out of the Santa story is eight and a half.
By the age of nine, 62% of children no longer believe and by ten, when they’re in the last stages of primary school, more than 4 in 5 children know the truth.
This is later than you’d expect given their thinking abilities. Psychologists have shown that children understand the difference between reality and fantasy from around the age of seven, and by this age would be questioning the idea of a portly man climbing up and down chimneys all over the world.
A scientific study by Prentice, Manosevitz and Hubbs (1978) found that children whose parents encourage the Santa myth were likely to believe for longer. So, in homes all over the country this Christmas Eve we’ll be busy creating snowy footprints, creeping into rooms to fill stockings and leaving drinks and biscuits for Santa and his reindeer. Follow our 10 tips to prolong the magic of Christmas.
So, how do children finally learn the truth? The survey revealed just over 40% simply grew out of believing, while a third (32%) were told by friends.
Only 8% of us as parents took the plunge to burst the Father Christmas bubble ourselves. Heartwarmingly, our survey found that 83% of older siblings kindly play along with the myth and don’t reveal the truth to their younger siblings.
So did you tell your children about Santa? Or did they find out a different way?