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Imaginary friends: Is it normal for my preschooler to talk about them?

At this age, having an imaginary friend is both perfectly normal, and the sign of a creative child, with a healthy imagination.

It’s your child’s fertile imagination who has created this person – someone who can accompany your child as he or she explores the world around them. It’s also common for your child to blame this imaginary friend for misdeeds or misbehaviour. While it’s tempting to set your child straight when this happens, you should rather accept the explanation at face value, and then have your child help you to fix the problem.

Try not to react in either a positive or negative light when your child mentions his or her imaginary friend. Don’t tell your child to stop making things up, and don’t expand on the story either. If you do, you might either make your child feel patronised, or you may find that the imaginary friend stays longer than you’d like.

The good news is that this is a very common childhood phase, and that most children will outgrow it by themselves by around age five.

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