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Reasons for imaginary companions

Studies found that 65% of children play with invisible playmates. Children typically start inventing imaginary friends at age three to five.

Children make up imaginary friends to relieve loneliness, especially firstborn or only children. Another reason is to have someone to blame for bad behaviour or mischief.

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In the early 19th century, psychologists feared that imaginary friends could be a sign of emotional unstability or psychological problems in children.

Children who have fantasy friends are more socially aware. They can put themselves in other people's shoes better than peers who don't have imaginary friends.

Parents often wonder how they should approach their children's imaginary friend.

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