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4 year old keeps wanting to pretend to be someone else..normal?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hello all,
My almost 4 year old has a wonderful, creative imagination which I try to encourage and nurture though storytelling, arts, creative play, etc...But for the past 6 months or so, she has been really adamant about wanting to 'be' someone else in her pretend play. She does this 3 or 4 times a day, and usually choses to 'be' either a classmate, or one of her cousins...sometimes she assigns the rest of the family to be the real life parent or sibling of this person she is pretending to be...she frequently gets quite upset if I don't play along (although I usually do) and call her by her name instead of the pretend person's name and will correct me "I'm not E! I'm Sandy!"...She is a pretty average, fun kid..Up to this point, apart from being bossy, I haven't noticed any self-esteems issues....she seems confident in school, deals appropriately with kids her age, loves to play..pretty average kid...has anyone seen this in their experience? Should I just play along? Any suggestions greatly appreciated,
post #2 of 13
My almost 5 yo DS likes to pretend to be other people, though with him it's more likely to be Star Wars characters than people he knows! It's not all the time, but he does love to dress up and have me call him by his pretend name. I play along with it, unless he gets too bossy. Then I tell him that it's not fun to play when he is telling me what to do all the time and he chills out.

It sounds like your daughter has a wonderful imagination and it is nothing to worry about. My DS's preschool teacher has told me she worries about the kids who won't or can't do imaginative play, never the ones who do.
post #3 of 13
Role playing is normal and healthy. It's one of the ways kids learn to identify with other people's thoughts and feelings. It's a good thing.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies so far...I was just reading a little farther in this list and saw a similar post about a 3 year old wanting to be called by another name...although this is part of it with DD, she really seems to take on the personality of the person she is pretending to be - talking like them, asking me to be their mother and calling me by that name, reading stories 'they' like..anyway, I just wanted to be clear about what is going on..sounds like this is normal, but I knew if I posted on mothering I would get some good insite
thanks again,
post #5 of 13
If Eastons is not Easton ( which happens ALOT) he is Reed Timmer or Al Bean, Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong.

Sounds normal and always fun!
post #6 of 13
My almost 4.5 yo DD has said a couple of times in the past month or so that she wishes she could be in other people's bodies, so she can feel what it's like and how they feel things. This may be gross, but she's been sick, so she said she wants to feel what their mucous is like (I know, sorry!!! but it was really funny, so I had to share!)

I think it's totally normal and perhaps how they begin to work through the fact that other people have feelings and hopefully towards a heightened sense of sympathy/empathy.

ETA: I forgot...she is very into playing a pretend game she calls "Neighbor", where she pretends we are neighbors and that she is the mommy of her baby sister and I am the neighbor who can babysit (which is funny because no one but her grandmother has ever babysat her or her sister!). Anyway, she is almost obsessed with this game, lately, which started when we moved into a Village neighborhood last year, where we talk to our neighbors on a regular basis.
post #7 of 13
I think it's normal, too. My daughter is usually "Anna" - and Anna can be a dog, a cat, or a person. I sometimes over hear her in her role play as she's acting out scenes with her toys or her baby brother. He always gets to play the role of baby - or brother. Anyhoo, I hear some pretty interesting expressions some times. Not always liking what I hear, but, understanding it's a normal developmental stage.
post #8 of 13
My dd does this as well-- she even tries to adjust her voice to sound like whoever she is that day! I think it's pretty cool (actually, in my own mind, it's a sign of my dd's brilliance, creativity, etc. )
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
LOVED these replies..thanks so much everyone...i was thinking it was just because she is brilliant and creative (OF COURSE)..but had a moment of doubt..so glad that others have had these experiences...don't we all have incredible creative munchkins??
thanks again,
Lisa in Balto
post #10 of 13

Well I hear ya on your concern... After reading all the replies, I feel much better about what my DD is up to... she does the whole different name thing, too... and she changes the way they talk and even has completely different preferences... I find it funny that everytime she does this, it always starts with "Hello, I'm new...  Can you guess my name?... I've never been here before, can I live here?" then we introduce her to all her toys or books... she picks which lovey is hers, and so on...


Wife and I were worried that we had messed her up somehow and that she preferred to be someone else to being herself... glad to hear that this is common...

post #11 of 13

My ds has been doing this for a long time, mostly characters from movies including animals and vehicles. He changes alot, sometimes every few minutes. I started making nametags for him so I can keep track because he gets mad when I call him the wrong name. Certain characters reflect certain feelings in our house.

post #12 of 13

This has been going on for over a year with us. About 2-3 times a week when we pick dd up from school the teacher will laughingly tell us who dd was today...Which is lovely that she too will play along and call her that name as well. It used to be all the time, correcting us if we got her name wrong etc now she just does it occasionally then forgets who she was a minute later lol...its a stage.

post #13 of 13

Totally normal. My 4 yr old will be Ben10, his cousin, Mum, Dad all in a given day. He also gets cranky when you call him something other than who he is being.

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