If you're beginning to find that your child's imaginary friend is becoming a little bothersome, try these tips:
Doing things for imaginary friends
You might find yourself being asked to set a place for dinner, fix a snack or make up a bed for your child's imaginary friend. Rather than performing these tasks yourself, encourage your child to hold the door open or set a place at the table for the imaginary child. In this way, you are accepting your child's imaginary friend but also taking the opportunity to develop your child's skills.
Talking through imaginary friends
Some children will insist on speaking to their imaginary friends all the time, "I have to ask Timmy first". They might also ask you to speak through their friends, if this is becoming tiresome, say to your child "I want to hear what you think, not what Timmy thinks".
Blaming imaginary friends
Sometimes children will misbehave, do something they shouldn't and blame their imaginary friend. It's best to handle this by clearly telling your child that their imaginary friend could not have done this and then follow up with an appropriate strategy such as making your child clean up the mess.
For a very small number of children, imaginary friends can be a symptom of other issues. If you are concerned about your child's imaginary friend, for instance if your child has suffered a traumatic event and the imaginary friend is being nasty or malicious, it's a good idea to consult your GP or health professional.