Are imaginary playmates a sign that a child may have trouble making real friends?


Are imaginary playmates a sign that a child may have trouble making real friends?

Play in Childhood:

Children engage in different forms of play that are an inevitable part of their developmental years. In fact, many therapists use play therapy with children to identify, evaluate, and manage any psychological issues.

Answer and Explanation:

Many children between the ages of three and seven have imaginary playmates (also called imaginary, invisible, or pretend friends) that take the form of an invisible friend, an animal, or a toy. Imaginary playmates can either be inspired from characters on television and books or created by the child. Children usually interact and play with these imaginary friends.

For a long time, psychologists and caregivers were intrigued by this phenomenon of having imaginary playmates and concerns were raised whether it is a normal part of development. However, increasingly, research studies have shown that having imaginary friends is a normative developmental process that is beneficial. In fact, when compared to children without imaginary playmates, children with imaginary friends have been found to be more creative, equipped with verbal and social skills, have a greater understanding of social contexts, and better coping strategies. Such children who are equipped with such skills and experiences are better able to form, explore, and manage real-life relationships and, therefore, it has been concluded that imaginary playmates are not a hindrance to real-life relationships.

Learn more about this topic:

Encouraging Expressive Play & Performance


Chapter 14 / Lesson 7

Encouraging expressive play and performance is important for childhood development as children begin to explore their imaginations. Discover the benefits of expressive play and how to help students express themselves.

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