Magazine article Work & Family Life

Imaginary Friends Can Give Children a Boost

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Imaginary Friends Can Give Children a Boost

Article excerpt

Why do children make up imaginary playmates? Are they lonely? Troubled? Is it a cry for help?

Quite the reverse, according to psychologists Marjorie Taylor of the University of Oregon and Stephanie Carlson of the University of Washington, whose study of kids and their imaginary friends was reported in the journal Developmental Psychology.

Fictional companions are common: 65 percent of children to age 7 had dreamed up at least one at some point. The study found that kids who played with imaginary friends had better verbal skills and a better understanding of other points of view than those who did not.

Most imaginary playmates are exactly that: playmates who entertain and provide companionship. Often, they have special powers: they can go places and do things your child can't do. …

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