My Child Has Imaginary Friends: What Do I Do?
When most kids have imaginary friends, their parents panic. They think that their child is lonely and has no friends, or worse, that there is some sort of medical issue.
But in most cases, there's nothing to worry about at all. In fact, having imaginary friends can actually be a sign of creativity and intelligence. Here are some things to know about imaginary friends.
A child with an imaginative mind is more likely to have one or more imaginary friends than a child who doesn't have very many creative thoughts. It doesn't mean that they're lonely or that there's anything wrong with them.
Having imaginary friends is just something that comes along with having the ability to think in new and creative ways.
Many famous people had imaginary friends when they were young, including Mozart, Ansel Adams, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Lewis Carroll (writer of Alice in Wonderland), Walt Disney, and Chuck Jones (producer of Looney Tunes).
Sorry to burst any bubbles out there, but even Bill Gates probably had an imaginary friend when he was a kid!
1. There are many ways to deal with imaginary friends
The one thing you can't do is ignore them. Children crave attention, and if you ignore your child's imaginary friends, they'll think that they're doing something wrong.
If an imaginary friend is causing trouble in the house, the best thing to do is talk about it with your child.
Ask your child questions about the friend, like "Does Tommy have any siblings?" or "Where does Tommy sleep at night?"
Many kids make up new characters every now and then, so don't worry if they seem to be short-lived.
Just because a character only appeared once doesn't mean that they weren't important - some kids want to spend more time with certain characters while others prefer to leave right after they've had their fill of playing.
Some kids even have parties for their imaginary friends, whether they're birthday parties or just a get-together to say good-bye to one friend while making room for another.
As long as your child is enjoying his or her friends, it's okay if they come and go quickly.
Some children enjoy playing with the same characters over and over again, so there's no need to worry about them not having any friends at all.
If you do find yourself thinking that something might be wrong with your child because he or she has an imaginary friend, remember that most likely your child is perfectly normal in every other way!
Kids are smart little creatures who know how to take care of themselves until they
2. Make sure your child understands the difference between reality and fantasy
It's important for your child to know the difference between reality and fantasy. One way for children to do this is by making sure that their characters are different from them.
The child shouldn't say his character's name the same way he would say his own, or dress like him or her, or behave like they would in real life.
When it comes to things like getting hungry and feeling tired, you should always tell your child what you expect them to do - whether they're playing with their imaginary friends or not.
It's never a good thing when a character has special powers that allow him or her to skip out on basic needs such as eating and sleeping without any explanation as to why.
The most important thing is to make sure that there is a clear boundary between your child's real life and their fantasy.
3. Encourage your child to play by themselves or with other children
One of the best things you can do for your child is encourage them to play by themselves or with their friends.
It'll be good practice for them when they get older, and it can give them a chance to learn about themselves without any pressure from adults.
Many children who have imaginary friends are shy in nature, so while they might enjoy playing alone, they may not seem like it.
Try suggesting that they go off to play on their own once in a while - this way they won't feel trapped into making up excuses for why they don't want to play with other kids or why their imaginary friend never wants to leave them alone!
Having at least one friend helps your child learn about themselves and gives them the chance to interact with others in a safe environment.
Just make sure not to pressure your child into playing by themselves if that's what they're most comfortable doing!
4. Make a list of all the things that an imaginary friend can't do
This will help them understand that they're just playing out fantasies, not actually interacting with someone else in the real world.
When it comes to imaginary friends, like any other character in a child's imagination, there are some things they can't do because they aren't real. For example:
- An imaginary friend can't leave unless your child wants them to
- An imaginary friend isn't allowed to ask adults for anything (like food or toys) without your permission first
- An imaginary friend doesn't get presents for birthdays or holidays (just like your real friends!)
Your child might question why their characters don't act how they would expect them to, so this will give them a chance to think about what is and isn't possible when playing with an imaginary being.
Some children may wish that their characters could be part of their family and play with them on a daily basis, but the facts remain: they aren't REAL.
This will help your child understand that there are rules for playing with an imaginary friend and that it isn't as simple as just letting them do whatever they want whenever they like!
5. If your child continues to insist on having an invisible companion, don't argue
Instead try and find a way for them to have some independence in their lives while still being safe .
If your child is insistent that they have an IMAGINARY friend, don't argue with them about it. It'll only confuse them and may make them feel bad for wanting to play with someone who isn't real.
Rather try giving your child the gift of responsibility by giving him or her simple tasks that are related to something they love - like playing games or watching TV together. For instance, if your child loves My Little Pony Friendship is Magic , you can give them little chores like "go get me a cup of water" or "put the plates away". They might even start building up more complex tasks on their own!
These small jobs will help your child learn more about themselves and others while still allowing them to be part of the family. It can even help them learn how to be more independent in their day-to-day lives!
Imaginary friends provide children a way to explore different aspects of their personality and social interactions without any real world consequences.
Allowing your child to have an imaginary friend can be a great way to help them learn more about themselves, as well as giving them some independence in their lives.
Just make sure that you set some ground rules for how they play with their imaginary friend, so that there aren't any misunderstandings!