My youngest daughter is now nine years old. She has always been very big into believing in magical things. It's probably my fault because I love to see kids using their imagination and wonder. My kids wrote letters to Santa every Christmas, and Santa always left a letter with their presents, in response. Her teddies are real and all have names. She takes them everywhere on trips, in the car and stuff. She even takes in turns, so they all get to go out. Likewise, she has a great fondness for Christmas and even keeps an elf in his own little bed at the side of hers because she thinks she's looking after him for Santa (again, my fault! (Partly my wife's fault, too, actually)).
I'm really struggling with this. My wife wants to tell her, because she's afraid her friends may laugh at her in school because of it, but I feel like it would be ripping the last glistening sparks of innocence from her. I feel like what's coming is... "Santa isn't real, so Freddy (the elf) is not really my friend I'm looking after, so why do I talk to and play with my teddies?" What's left for her, then? It really upsets me because I know how much it means to her.
I don't mind her learning by herself, because it shows it's time. And I won't encourage it anymore like I used to. Then I think maybe she knows (from social media, friends etc) but just plays on it for fun, maybe. She's quite smart. She asks intelligent questions and even tells me I'm wrong sometimes, and I check, and she's right. But she's never asked if Santa is real.
It really gets me because it's like the end of her childhood. But she's only just turned nine and is still very much attached to her private fantasy world.
So what's best for her mental development? Is there anything wrong with just letting it play out?
(I'd love to have some psychological insight into the pros and cons of telling her, but just other parent's experiences would be great, too)