An imaginary friend and your child- How to deal with it?


How often it happen that you step on the floor but your little one shrieks and asks to shove over to make room for BHAW BHAW’, an imaginary friend of your kid that is nothing but an orange-coloured teddy you bought for them. Sometimes these imaginary friends are mere personifications of their toys and sometimes they might be a character of their favorite cartoon or a movie series.


We often see our kids playing with their toys as if they are real and alive. Giving them names and specific characteristics is perfectly common in childhood.They also relate them with certain emotions and characteristics.To an extent it is good for the development of creative skills and critical thinking in children.  

 This imagination play a vital role in the development of your child''s cognitive abilities and consciousness 

In this blog, we will get to know more about your child’s  pretend buddy.

Why do kids make imaginary friends?

To quell boredom

If your kid is a single child who does not have any siblings or cousins as their playmates, your child often invents an imaginary friend who pretends to play with them all the time. They do so to compensate for the absence of siblings and quell boredom. Sometimes, the imaginary friend of your little one might also fill in a gap that other playmates don''t.


To satisfy their fantasies

Your child may be fond of Peppa pig, Alice in Wonderland, or some kind of other fictional animated character or story that involves creatures that do not exist in real life; by imagining a pretend friend that resembles their favorite characters, they are able to satisfy their desire of having a friend like them. Kids build up a story around their imaginary buddy and continue roleplay.

To use their pretend friend as scapegoats

Young kids are afraid to take the blame or responsibility for the mistakes they commit, and so they tend to put the blame on their imaginary buddy. Initially, you may find it funny or cute but you should not encourage this pattern for too long as they will need to learn to take responsibility for their actions and face the consequences thereof. 


Channel of their creative skills

Children who have an egalitarian relationship with their pretend buddy tend to have better social coping skills. They’re already good at managing friendships and social situations with their peers. Interacting with an imaginary friend may be a child’s way of practicing and improving existing creative skills. Having an imaginary friend gives a child a chance to practice confident conversation and speaking skills.

A medium to voice their opinion

Some children may feel hesitant to voice their opinion, and so they tend to use their pretend friends as a medium for their unvoiced thoughts and opinions. For instance, remember your child''s best buddy ''bhawbhaw'' doesn’t like going into the water?

How escaping mechanism for quelling boredom but a symptom of your child having hallucinations for real. You must immediately consult a child psychologist or psychiatrist.



Imaginary companions of your child can let you know how your child thinks about relationships. How they seek friendship and what are their expectations from people. This imaginative play helps them figure out the importance of friendship.

 It''s often a way for your child to participate in adult-like conversation via their imaginary friend. It is perfectly fine for them to engage with their pretend buddy in most of their play time. Children often channel their emotions and feelings through this imaginative play. This pretend friend is a window for them to express their thoughts and expectations from the world around them.

Parents should be cautious when they observe that their child’s imaginative buddy is outgrowing and your little one is struggling to differentiate the reality with their imagination. Help your kid recognise that  their imaginative buddy is their creative imagination and not a scapegoat to escape from the reality of life.

You can also read:

Ways to develop kids social skills amid lockdown.

How to improve a child''s cognitive skills.

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