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Imaginary Friends Can Be Positive

Imaginary Playmates Can Help A Child's Development

If your preschooler has concocted an imaginary friend, chances are, she's not the only kid on the block doing this. In fact, the authors of "What to Expect: The Toddler Years" contend that nearly two-thirds of children 3 to 4 years old drum up a pretend pal.

For some kids, this friend is ever-present, while for others, their "playmate" drops by just occasionally for fun. Some kids even create more than one imaginary friend.

Why do kids do this? Often it's a means of creating a modicum of control in their life. An imaginary friend never talks back, is rarely domineering, and makes a nice scapegoat to blame misdeeds on.

While parents may worry that creating a make-believe playmate signals that their child is lonely or disturbed, most experts agree that imagination in a child is a good thing. Studies on adults who invented imaginary playmates as children found that they tended to be sociable, cooperative, creative, and successful people.

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