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Is it normal for a child to have an invisible friend?

Q: My 5 years old grandson has had an invisible buddy for several months. Here is an example of a situation that happened today. The power had gone out at the house last night due to a snake that got into a substation. When my grandson learnt this, he started crying & said it was his invisible buddy pet and they were trying to save it but it was dead. He had acted up at school today and when asked what was bothering him he looked at his buddy and looked back at his mom and said because a puny snail is in my brain. When asked how to get it out. He looked at his buddy and back at his mom and said by doing a wet willy. His mom asked if she needed to give him a wet willy and he said no he could do it himself (a wet willy is where you stick your finger in your mouth & get it wet then stick in your ear). So, he gave himself a wet willy. His mom asked if he got it and he looked at his buddy and asked if he could have the puny magnifying glass. Which he took from his buddy and pretending to hold a object like he was looking at is finger. He said he got it unless I have two. Is this normal for a child to have an invisible buddy?

A:It is perfectly normal for a 5-year old to have an imaginary playmate. As the child grows up, he will out-grow the idea. There is no cause for worry about an imaginary buddy. Probably, the books and stories read out to the child have a great deal of fantasy and it is normal for children to create characters that they wish could be real. One could call it wishful thinking. He may be missing siblings or other children to play with. Perhaps you should look into the possibility of introducing one or two children in the neighbourhood for joint playing sessions with your grandson, after school hours. Possibly, this may not be feasible in this situation. In any case, one should not make an issue of the child having an imaginary playmate. You can play along a bit, but also bring in real life events, which are interesting for the child. Introduce a variety of activities, so that choices can be made by the child according to his inclination and taste. You should be glad that the child has such a rich imagination. As he grows up, he can really go places! All the best!

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