How To Make Your Child Forget His Imaginary Friends

It's sometimes cute to see your child entertaining imaginary friends. But when it spills over to when he gets older, it can be a problem. Here's how to help your child get over his make-believe buddies.

At first, you thought of your child’s creation of Mr. Brightside and Mrs. Periwinkle as quite brilliant. You’ve probably heard and read that children, especially preschoolers, go through a stage of having imaginary friends. Although it is a normal part of growth and an indicator of brain development, sometimes you just can’t help but get annoyed.

Perhaps some of your child’s decisions depend on his imaginary friends. You may find it worrisome why he won’t let you sit on a chair because his pal was supposedly seated there first. You may even find it scary sometimes when your child suddenly talks to the void behind you. Here are some steps on how to make your child forget his imaginary friends.

Talk To Him About Reality

One painful but effective method of letting your child accept is to tell him that his friends are imaginary. It is very likely that your child understands and knows that he doesn’t really see or hear anybody else except himself. Bring him back to reality and tell him that, sooner or later, big boys won’t be seeing much of Mr. Brightside and Mrs. Periwinkle, and he has to make new friends -- real ones.

Determine The Triggers

One of the main reasons why children create imaginary friends is because their brain activity is stimulated by a variety of triggers. Examples of these triggers are television shows, video games and animated books. You have to limit and set the time for your child to indulge in visual stimulation to help him forget about his current imaginary friends and avoid creating new ones.

Create Diversion

Most children who spend much of their time alone, hanging out with their unreal pals, do not have siblings or real live friends to play with. Provide opportunities for your child to enjoy the outdoors and learn how to build friendships with other children his age. If his thoughts are preoccupied with sports, hobbies or worthwhile activities, it is very likely that his intense imaginations will be kept at bay.

Talk To Your Child

Children are constantly looking for attention and someone to talk to. Make sure that you always spend time to talk to your child and ask how he is. Conversation is a powerful tool in maintaining relationships and keeping one sane. You may even talk about his imaginary friends. Show your child how much more fun it is talking to someone who can really respond.


Do not abruptly tell your child that his friends aren’t real and that he should forget about all of them at once. Be patient because letting go is a gradual process. You may consider having your child draw his friend or tell you about the traits he likes most about them. Use these as guides on how you can be a better parent and friend to him.

Never lose your cool or reprimand your child if you find yourself greatly disturbed by his imaginations. Understand that these are all normal and your child will slowly learn how to forget about them. He will soon enjoy friendships and real life discussions with other people, especially you.


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Ron Siojo
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