A toddler’s curiosity about the world is often stoked by an imaginary friend, or a story that they have just learned.
But how do parents respond when a child is getting excited about something that’s not even real?
It could be something like a story about an imaginary dog or a character in a storybook, said Dr. Jennifer O’Leary, a child psychologist at the University of Southern California.
“You have to be prepared for that,” she said.
“It could be a toy that you have.
You have to know when you have a problem.”
How to be aware of a child’s child-in-the-story problem While it may seem like a natural curiosity for a toddler to be excited about a story or a dog, O’Donnell said it can be a problem.
“When a child has a story, that’s something that they’re likely to relate to in a very deep way, which is often what they’re really curious about,” she explained.
If a child doesn’t know about that, the parent needs to be able to talk to them about it, O.K.?
And she also wants to know how to keep a conversation focused on the story, so the child doesn’s experience doesn’t overshadow the conversation.
“We want to be clear and explicit about that,” O’Connor said.
Parents need to be ready to be the ones to say: “I understand what you’re going through, but I don’t have the time or the energy to talk about this with you right now.
What are you doing to help your child understand that you don’t want to talk?”
“The most important thing you can do for children is talk about what you have and what you want them to do.”
The first step is to start talking to your child about the story and their desire to learn about it.
“This is the beginning,” O’sLeary said.
It’s the first step in getting your child to open up about the concept of a story.
Then, as they get older, they may want to tell their story in a way that helps them understand what it is they’re experiencing.
The storyteller can start by talking about the child’s relationship to the world, whether it’s their imagination, the stories that their friends have told them, or the way that they read.
“Children need to understand the world in a specific way,” O. K. said.
They also need to know what they are experiencing and why it is happening.
This process of exploring the world and asking questions can be helpful, but it can also be distracting.
The more the child is exploring their experience and learning about it and exploring their own experience, the more their ability to remember things and relate to others can develop, O’sConnor said, especially if they have difficulty reading words or hearing words.
So parents need to get in touch with their child and ask, “What’s going on in your head?” and be mindful of their reaction.
If you’re having a difficult time understanding the child, ask them to describe what’s happening in their mind.
You may need to ask them a question about what they have been seeing or hearing, for example.
“One of the best ways to get to a place where you’re not just going through your own mind but talking to a child, or if you’re just not hearing or seeing what you think you are, is to go in the child,” O K said.
Then they can ask questions about the meaning of what they hear or see, and ask how they might respond to it.
O’ Learys advice for parents of kids who are in the story-telling mode Parents can use a checklist that will help you remember how to tell the story to your children, including what words and phrases to use and how to talk with them about them.
“The important thing is that your child is engaged in the conversation,” O O’Leeson said.
This is a good time to say, “OK, let’s talk about it.”
When you’re done, your child should be able tell you how they feel about the experience, what they’ve learned about the imaginary dog and the storybook character, and what they want to learn next.