THE POWER OF PRETEND
IMAGINARY FRIENDS PROMOTE REAL LIFE SKILLS
for bed. They also provide a window into the way your child’s mind works by encouraging the vocalization of thoughts and feelings they may not otherwise share. Imaginary friends are often a proxy for the children who invent them, so the conversations your child has with or about their friend can provide a lot of insight into how your child views the world and themselves. Imaginary friends are so important to how some children learn and grow that they’ve been featured in pop culture for many years. Entertainment like “Calvin and Hobbes,” “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends,” and even adult shows like “Supernatural” — which featured an episode about a main character’s childhood imaginary friend returning to teach him valuable lessons as an adult — portray the inventors of imaginary friends as outgoing and creative. It just goes to show that letting the imagination run wild not only encourages healthy development but can also lead to lots of fun.
Studies show that up to 50% of young children have imaginary companions, ranging from entirely conjured entities to beloved stuffed animals. The popular social stigma around imaginary friends is that these children must be shy or lonely, but psychologists disagree. In fact, if your child develops an imaginary friend, most psychologists say it’s an activity you should promote instead of discourage. Psychologists claim that the invention of an entire friendly persona points to the fact that the child is both creative and highly social. Imaginary scenarios also give kids an opportunity to indulge in their wildest aspirations, like going to the moon or inventing a time machine. Their creativity gives them the ability to dream, explore, and experiment in useful ways. Imaginary friends can also be there to comfort your child when they’re feeling down or experiencing a tantrum, which is helpful when they are learning how to manage their emotions. There are also many ways parents can take part in interactions with imaginary friends to strengthen their own relationship with their child. Imaginary friends can make interactive play more meaningful and can be useful in accomplishing daily routines, like cleaning up or getting ready GET THE MOST OUT OF SPRINGWEATHER The weather is getting warmer, which means one thing: Spring is here at last! After nice weather hiding away for several months, it’s no wonder people are eager to get outside and enjoy everything Johnson City has to offer us. Here are a few suggestions for making the most out of the season. PREP YOUR GARDEN. Gardening is a wonderful pastime that anyone can enjoy! March is a great time to get your garden in shape and plant your seeds. Before you start planting, begin by cleaning out any debris left from the winter, fix broken fences or gates, check your tools, and purchase seeds and bulbs you’d like to grow. To make growing a garden even better, get the whole family involved. Let the kids help you clean out the garden and have them pick out a few seeds they’d like to see grow. MAKE YOUR WAY OUTDOORS. People who are eager to get away from home for a while and enjoy the outdoors can experience it in many different forms. Whether you enjoy camping, hiking, biking, or walking, there’s plenty for you to do throughout Johnson City. For a full list of hiking, walking, and biking trails, visit JohnsonCityTN.org and plan for a day trip with the family or a group of friends. Alternatively, if you want to get away for a few days, plan an overnight camping trip to one of the many fantastic camping sites around our city.
ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS. Looking for other activities to enjoy? Here are a few more options you can check out this spring. • Spending time at the park: Spring is the perfect time to head to the park and have a picnic, fly a kite, or watch your kids play on the playground. • Making bird feeders: Making your own bird feeder is fun and rewarding, and there’s plenty of techniques to follow. Check out TheSpruceCrafts.com for a few ideas. • Going to the Johnson City Farmers Market: Next month, the farmers market is opening once again. Don’t miss the chance to pick out fresh fruits and vegetables, chat with other marketgoers, and admire the arts and crafts on display.
Take this opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beautiful spring air!
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