Imagination is a fascinating thing, especially when it comes to children. Many kids have imaginary friends who they play with and talk to as if they were real. As a parent, you may be wondering what this means and how to navigate this world of make-believe. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the topic of imaginary friends, exploring why children create them, how they can benefit your child’s development, and what role you can play in supporting their imagination. So, let’s step into the world of make-believe and uncover the wonders of your child’s imaginary friend.
It is very common for First Borns to have imaginary friends. At least 65% of children create such imaginary playmates for themselves during their early childhood. Most imaginary friends appear when a child is anywhere between 2 ½ – 3 and hang around for a couple of years and exit by the time the child is 5-6 years.
Your Child’s Imaginary Friend
Though your child may not agree and forcefully deny it, yet they are completely aware that their imaginary companion is make believe. These companions appear according to your child’s convenience sometimes it could be present at all times on other occasions it could come and go. The imaginary friend could be their age, an adult, a dog or a fairy whatever your child fancies.
Long Term Effects Of Imaginary Friends:-
- Plenty of Real Friends – Research reveals that children with imaginary friends tend to have plenty of real friends and display independent and sociable traits.
- Creativity Signs – Since your child is already imagining a friend think of how their mind works. Extremely intelligent and ability to do different things is a strong possibility if your child has an imaginary friend.
- Welcome the Imaginary Friend – Instead of disputing the existence of your child’s made up friend accept and welcome them just as you would their regular real friends. Your child has a bond formed with the friend and not accepting them may anger, hurt or upset your toddler. This could leave long term effects on your child.
- Toddler Decides – Let your toddler take the lead when or when not to introduce their friend. For example, if they ask only then offer the friend a chair next to you. Or if the toddler says then ask them if they would like some milk and cookies.
- Your Rules – Sometimes kids try and play the blame game by putting the onus on the imaginary friend. Do not let your child escape the consequences. They have to understand that you are the child and solely responsible for your actions.
- Encourage Companionship – Provide plenty of real time friends for your child. There is a possibility that your child is seeking friends, thus the imaginary companion has been created.
- Other Avenues for Imagination – Encourage your child to play with other toys and games so they can explore their creativity in other ways. Imagination is a precious gift and it will only help your child thrive and grow. Don’t let it fade away.
Remember that your child will eventually give up their pretend play mate. It is a matter of time and them getting comfortable with their social environment and are able to express themselves better and more constructively. An imaginary friend at times gives a lot of insight to the parents in their child’s mind and their emotional quotient.
Though imaginary friends are common and harmless yet it is important to observe your child’s behaviour and mannerism’s. If they are confiding and talking more to their friend it is a cause of concern and you need to understand the root cause and help them get out of it.
Did your child have an imaginary play friend? When did it start and how long did it continue?
Having an imaginary friend is a common and often beneficial part of a child’s development. It allows them to explore their imagination, develop social skills, and find comfort in companionship. While some parents may worry about the presence of an imaginary friend, it is important to understand that it is a normal and healthy aspect of childhood. Encourage your child’s imagination and creativity by embracing their relationship with their imaginary friend. If you have any interesting or heartwarming stories about your child’s imaginary friend, we would love to hear about it! Please share in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes a child to have an imaginary friend?
According to Carlson, “imaginary companions are giving kids a sense of control.” They are free to create the stories and summon them up; no one else is interfering with them. They are able to keep it all to themselves. It’s a fascinating method of regaining some control.
What happens if your child has a fictional friend?
Generally speaking, fictitious friendships are a natural aspect of social growth and eventually fade. It’s crucial to share any worries you have with your pediatrician, especially if: You have additional worries about your child’s development, particularly in relation to speech, talking patterns, or social interactions.
What stage is imaginary friends?
According to one of the study’s co-authors, Stephanie Carlson, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development, having imaginary friends is most common between the ages of three and eleven.