(WJBK) - Many parents can't wait to get that classic photo of their little one on Santa's lap, but often times, the trip results in a tears and screams.
Dr. Kate Eshleman of Cleveland Clinic Children's says that it's important to keep in mind that a visit to Santa should be fun for everyone involved, not just Mom and Dad.
"This is meant to be a fun and enjoyable activity for the whole family, and if the child appears reluctant, encouraging the child to give it a try - it's always important to try things we're a little bit afraid of - but if they're really hesitant or don't want to do it, then forcing them is not going to help," she says.
She says that if it's your child's first ever visit to see Santa, it's a good idea to proceed with some caution. She says it's important to have an idea ahead of time whether your child is really interested in seeing Santa up close and in person, or perhaps just from afar.
If your child is old enough to be able to speak with you, Dr. Eshleman recommends asking them what they'd like to do that way you can help manage their expectations.
She said parents should keep in mind that we spend a lot of time warning our children about stranger danger, and that even though Santa is a friendly character, he's still a stranger to them and it can be frightening.
She says by doing some research ahead of time, you can help save yourself and your child from an agonizing experience.
"A lot of times, you can look up the specific Santa online; maybe show the child a picture of what they can expect to see; asking them what they would like to talk to Santa about and trying to frame it in a positive light," she recommends.
What's key is for parents to remain calm and if it looks like it's going to be too difficult, just walk away. Eventually as the kids get a little older, you will get some precious moments with Santa.