Dreaming is inherent in childhood and plays a huge role in a child’s development. Children with a developed imagination can overcome difficulties more easily, their creative thinking skills and sense of curiosity develop, and they can more easily find solutions to problems they may encounter in the future. For this reason, children’s imagination development should be supported by parents.
The development of imagination and play in children progress in parallel. While movement-oriented games dominate the child’s life until the age of 2, imaginary (symbolic) games begin with the ability of abstract thinking, mental and language development to reach a certain maturity from the age of 2. Symbolic games, which are frequently seen at the age of 2-3, begin with the imitation of daily life rituals. These imitations can be imitating the parents, feeding the baby food, pretending to talk on the phone. Criticizing children’s dreams may lead them to avoid revealing their thoughts and feelings to their parents. Dreaming is something that needs to be developed, not criticized.
How can parents contribute to the development of imagination?
-Let the child guide you instead of guiding you
-Playing non-purposeful open-ended games
-Using different materials (tin can, toilet paper roll etc..)
-Choosing toys with various functions
-Creating a story for his drawing
-Do not press potatoes
-Don’t use non-toys as toys
-Giving the opportunity to get acquainted with nature closely
-Making different roles
Children’s imagination development can be supported with activities such as cooking together.
Imaginary friends are also common during these periods. Imaginary friends are usually formed as a result of the need for socialization, and the child creates a space where they can manage their real-life difficulties/friendship difficulties and meet their emotional needs together with their imaginary friend. They enrich their game with imaginary friends, and this is normal. It usually disappears as the child starts kindergarten.
So when is an imaginary friend a problem?
Parents need to follow the children’s games and discourses.
-When the child begins to confuse fantasy and reality,
– When the child’s imaginary friends prevent the child from connecting with the outside world and their responsibilities,
– Seek professional help when it prevents him from enjoying real life and the child begins to feel lonely.