July 31, 2019

Imaginative Kids: Is It Ever Too Much of a Good Thing?

Can a kid ever have TOO good of an imagination? Does there come a time when we need to lead kids back to reality? Will they take their imaginary friends to prom if we don’t? Here’s why an overly active imagination is almost always a wonderful thing.

Is there such a thing as a too-imaginative kid? Parenting experts say no. Dr. Paul Harris, professor of education at Harvard and author of The Work of the Imagination, says that kids’ active imaginations are “essentially positive” and represent cognitive work, the way that children make sense of the world. 

But if you’ve got a kid who prefers her imaginary friend to making real ones— or who terrorizes the first grade by explaining how zombies can get into one’s home through the radiator— you might still wonder whether there comes a time to tamp it all down and force our kids to deal with reality. 

In this episode we talk about  the considerable upsides of a huge imagination why some children have imaginary friends why some kids engage in “worldplay” for their imaginary worlds long after the other kids have moved on how to help anxious kids whose imaginations can become overly active how to encourage kids to engage in more imaginative play 

And here’s links to the books, articles, and research we discuss in this episode: 

Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola book series, featuring the kind-of-visible Soren Lorensen

Louise Fitzhugh: Harriet the Spy

Dr. Robin Alter: The Role of Imagination in Children with Anxiety

Paul L. Harris, The Work of the Imagination

Joshua A. Krisch for Fatherly: Brilliant Kids Visit (and Create) Imaginary Worlds

Michelle Root-Bernstein: The Creation of Imaginary Worlds

Marjorie Taylor: Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them

Deena Skolnik Weissberg: Distinguishing Imagination From Reality

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