Home > Babies and Toddlers > Toddlers > Toddler Growth and Development > Imaginative Play > The Unseen World of the Preschooler's Mind
|

The Unseen World of the Preschooler's Mind

As a toddler, what your child learned and thought was often right out there in the open. In the preschool years, nearly all of this takes place, literally, all in his head. Your child will think, create, imagine, play make-believe—and you won't know the half of it.

But you can still see your child's mental development through the ideas that he actualizes. An exciting development in the fourth year is your preschooler's blossoming ability to make what he imagines actually come true. In his mind's eye, perhaps he sees the color blue; then he puts a brush in the blue paint and applies it to paper. Voilá! Blue. Or he may come up with an elaborate game of make-believe. Then, on his own, he gathers all the props he needs to act it out. Indeed, your child may know what he wants so precisely that he will accept no substitutes and may get frustrated if he can't find the exact scarf or stick he's looking for.

What your preschooler imagines may become as real to him as anything he can perceive through his senses. For example, he may begin to create imaginary friends. If he does, he may insist that you recognize this "friend," too. He may ask you to set a place at the table for his friend, or to make sure his friend can see the book you're reading, too. Try to indulge (within reason) your child's insistence that the imagined is real. Having imaginary friends rarely indicates any underlying psychological disturbance. In fact, it's a great way for your child to exercise his creativity and imagination.

Despite spinning out elaborate worlds of imagination, your preschooler will become better able to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Increasing language skills play an important part in helping make this distinction clearer. Your three-year-old can now recognize the truth at least some of the time (although he may not always honor it).

More on: Preschool

|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Preschooler and Toddler, Too © 1997 by Keith M. Boyd, M.D., and Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

jack-o'-lantern creator

Design and print
your own
jack-o’-
lanterns!

GO

highlights

Top 10 Group Halloween Costumes for Families
These store-bought and Pinterest-inspired Halloween costume ideas for groups are the perfect way to show off your creative side at your Halloween party or while trick-or-treating.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

12 Spine-Tingling Halloween Movies for Teens
Are you looking for a movie with just a little bit of spook-factor for your teen? Check out these 12 spine-tingling Halloween movies!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!