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Is it normal for children to have imaginary friends?

Q: My daughter is 4 years old. She has a very good friend called Ria. My daughter always pretends as if Ria is with her. Like when she goes for a bath, to eat or if I take her out, she always says that 'Ria is with her'. She always reacts as if Ria is sitting next to her. Is this normal? I am worried about this. Please help.

A:Your daughter sounds delightful! It is perfectly normal for children to have an imaginary playmate. Some children make them up. In your daughter's case, she acts as if her friend 'Ria' is with her. It shows how much she enjoys the contact and connection with her friend. This game will disappear in due course and will not result in any problems. Right now, I have an American friend visiting me. She says that one in two children that she has known, have had imaginary playmates! You can play along and even use Ria's presence for socialising her, like saying Ria has eaten all the vegetables on her plate etc. But don't do it all the time. After all, Ria is her friend!

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