My three and half year old daughter has recently developed an imaginary friend. She is called 'baby' and sometimes is represented by one of her dolls but she has a mum and does all sorts of things that we haven't done or done a number of weeks prior. The other night 'baby' had to move because she was sitting in the seat my husband was about to sit in for dinner.

I know this is a part of her development. My question is how to handle this stage?

asked 29 Jan '12, 01:57

K%20D's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

Our daughter began having imaginary friends a few months before she turned three. The first one was named Elmo. We have always just played along with her, buckled them up in the car, fed them lunch and dinner etc... If her "friend" sat in Daddy's seat, and our daughter suggested Daddy move one of us would respond by, saying "Elmo, I'm sorry I didn't mean to sit on you, but I can't see you, could you please sit in one of the other seats". We would never let her get away with using her "friends" to get out of things she didn't want to do. I have even used her imaginary friends to our advantage at times. For instance, this summer she had independent swimming lessons (with other kids and a teacher and no mommy) for the first time. There was a tiny incident with one of the instructors (he splashed water on her) and she didn't want to go in the pool, and cried for mommy, even though she loves to swim. I told her that when she felt afraid to imagine Elmo swimming and jumping and having fun in the pool and then she wouldn't feel scared. I thought it was a long shot, but it worked.

Now, at almost three and a half, she regularly refers to her friends as pretend, so we know that she not only has a good imagination but a healthy understanding of the difference between real and pretend. I don't think that we did anything special to foster that understanding apart from explaining the difference between real and make believe.


answered 29 Jan '12, 12:14

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
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Asked: 29 Jan '12, 01:57

Seen: 3,525 times

Last updated: 29 Jan '12, 12:14