Here's what the conversation taught me:
1. Let the moment come up naturally and stay casual yet sensitive. Kids sense our feelings, so I came across calmly with a positive attitude about how fun it's been to keep up such a giving tradition for his entire childhood.
2. Let them feel disappointment and sadness. Don't try to avoid it. This part might have you feeling as though you should have never dooped your child, let alone shared the news now, but just think how cruel it is to find out from a bratty, teasing classmate (how I found out).
3. Remind your children of the joy they've experienced believing in this tradition and others (this only applies when they understand there's no easter bunny or toothfairy). Accordingly, they shouldn't ruin the magic for others (classmates and siblings). This part is important and teaches our children to express empathy for others.
4. Get reinforcements if you feel your child may really take it hard (books, online articles, etc.). If they take it harder than you thought, assure them they can still enjoy the tradition. Assure them the love and excitement they've felt doesn't go away.
5. Share lots of comforting hugs and kisses, and before you know it, your child will be just fine with the news. Soon after the reveal, my kid began referring to me as "mom, I mean, Santa." This went on for an hour with a bunch of delirious laughter in between.
In your opinion, when's the best time to have the big convo. with kids??