Tuesday, June 2, 2009

my toddler has an imaginary friend?

Is it normal that my toddler has an imaginary friend?

Don't worry, your toddler is not only normal, she's also very creative. Her burgeoning imagination fuels this wonderful fictitious creation, someone who accompanies her as she explores the world. Firstborns often have imaginary friends, as do very bright kids. It's one way children learn to make distinctions between good and bad. For example, your child may blame her friend for any misdeeds, saying "Jane" made her spill the milk or pull her books off the shelves. If she passes the buck, take her explanation at face value and help her clean up, but gently remind her of the rules of the house. Try not to make a big deal about it when she mentions her buddy. That means neither contradicting her ("Oh, come on, stop pretending!") or grilling her about it, nor expanding on it by pretending to meet or talk to her invisible pal. There's no reason to make her feel funny about talking to someone who doesn't exist, but if you go all out and incorporate her friend into your world, then you'll likely have her pal hanging around for a long time. In the meantime, let her enjoy the company of her friend; she'll soon grow out of this common childhood phase.

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