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My child is talking to an imaginary person after she gets in trouble or punished

Recently while sitting in time out or after being told off at bed time, my 3yr old daughter has started talking to herself or to an imaginary person (not sure which). She starts crying and then says the reason why she is in time out or in trouble. For example today she was put in time out for refusing to put her dirty bowl in the sink so while she was sitting there she was crying saying "mummy put me in time out cos I didn't put my bowl in the sink...what am I going to do now?" She repeated it a couple of times until time out was over. Is this normal?

Jane ...
Answer: Hi, At three years of age this sounds like completely normal behaviour, imagination will play a very important role in her life right now as will fantasy and make believe. She's also going to be learning about language and speech and how this influences her understanding of events. This all sounds very normal and age appropriate. Some children with more "vivid" imaginations tend to make believe more than others and some even make up imaginary friends-this is more common in only children and younger ones apparently. Just a general tip, try not to defer to time out strategies unless it's really warranted. At three she's still so young to be learning what's appropriate behaviour and what is means to be a social person. You'll find that she responds better to positive praise when she's behaving well than time out when she's misbehaving. Try too to "pick your battles" childhood lasts for a very long time and if you react to smaller, less important things then you'll run out of energy or motivation when the big stuff happens, which it inevitably does. Best Jane
Answered: 10 May 2014