Most parents like to reminisce on how their childhood was fun, even though there were no fancy toys and electronics. Children created games from practically nothing. Sometimes play was unstructured, ideas were invented as they sought to push the boundaries of their creativity.
Without Smartphones and portable devices, kids had to create mental movies. Imaginary friends were invented. From fairies, unicorns and pink elephants to pirate’s, children created an unbounded universe of play that they used to entertain themselves.
Children are still inventing these imaginary friends. However, the convenience that comes with technology threatens to diminish children’s ability to develop these mental characters and it can reduce their capacity for deep thinking. Imaginary friends can helps children in a number of ways.
Children with imaginary friends tend to develop their brain’s executive functions. Development of executive functions helps to maximize cognitive functions, improve memory, improve language skills, and boost their capacity for empathy.
When creating imaginary friends, kids are sometimes forced to see the world from the perspective of the characters they created. This helps to develop interpersonal skills. It is said that kids with imaginary friends have a better social understanding. They create different scenarios which they play out with the help of these characters. They are less shy and have the ability to look at the world from the perspective of someone else.
Coping with Mental Emotional Issues
Kids with imaginary friends can form a deep bond with the characters they’ve created. These characters can help children deal with psychological trauma, loneliness, and anxiety.
Parents can encourage their children by playing along when they voluntarily share something about their imaginary friend. However, caution should be taken so that the parent does not become over involved. Otherwise there is the risk that your involvement may cause inconsistencies. This can in turn lead the children to abandon the characters.