Did Your Child Have an Imaginary Friend?

Did Your Child Have an Imaginary Friend?

Rosie came home from preschool the other day talking about her “best friend” Jeffrey. I was thrilled. Because she is a twin, I am curious and eager to see how she expands outside of her twosome.

I had all sorts of questions about Jeffrey, but the answers I got were a bit confusing. He was either two or four years old, he had a birthday coming up, and Rosie wasn’t sure which class he was in. Hmmm…

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She had adorable things to say about him. Not only was he her best friend, but she wanted to have a sleepover with him, go to his “sparkly” birthday party, and have a play date. She wanted me to call his mom to invite him over.

It took me a few more days to put it all together. Finally, I asked the teachers at school if there was a boy named Jeffrey, and alas, there was not.

Just when I feel like I’ve been through all of the little kid phases, I get surprised… So I turned to Google. I was quickly reassured that this is a natural and normal developmental phase that occurs in one-third to two thirds of children between ages three and eight. While studies vary, traits associated with this behavior, according to Science Friday, include having a slightly larger vocabulary, being less shy, and being good at understanding the perspective of others.

If anything, it makes for humorous situations at home. I particularly love these tweets:

I am excited to see where this friendship goes. For now, I pepper her with questions about Jeffrey—what he likes to do, and what they can do together. She seems to understand that there’s a line between him and reality, as Jeffrey is never able to play, but she loves to talk about him and the things they will do together. And I love to listen.

Have you had an experience with an imaginary friend?

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