What Good Is Make-Believe?


Although some may have done so reluctantly, most adults gave up pretending years and years ago. We learned along the way to growing-up that we needed to always have our feet on the ground and thinking things through. This idea is even stronger right now as we weather the COVID-19 crisis. However, during this stay-at-home-more-than-ever time, our kids are wanting us  to play pretend all the time. It can be challenging and tedious, especially why we are trying to pay such careful attention to the real world.
So, I want to remind parents and caretakers what the reward is for giving their kids the opportunity to play pretend:
  1. They learn about whole new worlds – the world of being a parent; the world of school; the world of having a new brother or sister; the world of animals or superhero’s; the world of medicine; etc.
  2. They learn new skills and have fun doing it. How much more fun it is to learn 1+1=2 by playing grocery store rather than doing a math worksheet.
  3. It can lower stress for kids. If you are under stress (as almost all of us are this year), then your children are likely aware of it and feeling it too. They may not even know they are stressed or why and, at young ages, are not ready or able to talk about it. Make-believe can be an escape for kids, just like a movie, concert, or good book can be for adults. It can also offer acceptable ways to act out and get rid of stress by punching pillows or yelling or crying in their make-believe worlds.