THE POWER OF PRETEND IMAGINARY FRIENDS PROMOTE REAL LIFE SKILLS
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 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.
CONNOR POITRAS REFLECTS ON 5 YEARS STUDENT SPOTLIGHT
At MnSOM, we love it when our students have some big wins. So, when Connor Poitras reached an incredible milestone in his musical journey, we just had to share it with you. Connor has completed his fifth straight year of guitar lessons at our school and has the musical chops to prove it! We sat down with this aspiring musician to get his thoughts on the past five years and what he’s learned along the way. “I chose guitar because it was a cool instrument,” Connor tells us with a laugh. “Shaun Mendez, Sam Hunt, Ed Sheran — so many of the musicians I liked were guitarists.” Since those early days, this long-time MnSOM student has stayed true to his early inspirations. Recently, he’s mastered modern pop hits like “Believer” and “Body Like a Back Road” and even plays in a school band. Now it’s Connor’s impressing people with the coolness of his own guitar skills.
“I love seeing how passionate he is about music,” Connor’s mother tells us, “and I love seeing how much he applies it in his life.” “It’s great for hand-eye coordination,” Connor agrees, explaining that he balances his guitar playing with soccer and basketball on top of running cross-country. When asked about his busy schedule, the student-athlete seemed undaunted, explaining, “My schedule worked out where I only have one of those things a day. I just set aside time to practice when I get home from school.” Connor’s biggest takeaway, however, is his perseverance. Offering advice to aspiring guitarists, he says, “Try not to get frustrated. There are going to be times when you struggle, but just take a deep breath and keep going.” When asked what his next goal was after hitting this five-year milestone, Connor didn’t hesitate to answer: “I’m shooting for another five years … it feels good to have come this far.”
Thanks for sharing your story, Connor, and congratulations on all your hard work!
2 • www.mnschoolofmusic.com
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