As children become better and better “pretenders,” they need to also learn to tell the difference between what is real and what is pretend. Even when a person has a wonderful imagination, that person can and needs to know what things are now and what things are yet to become.
Adults can help with this. Does it mean that adults can’t play along and pretend with a child? No, there’s nothing better than having adults become part of the pretend play. But, adults can let the child know when they are pretending and when they are not.
Things you can say:
“I would love to play with you and pretend you are the doctor.”
“I’m done pretending now.”
“We’re not playing pretend right now, so you need to stop bandaging me for now.”