My 4yr old daughter has had an imaginary "friend" for 4 or 5 months now, whose name is Jerry. About a week or week and a half ago, she started to get extremely attached to me, not wanting me to leave her side, and constantly talking about monsters. She stayed at her Nana's last night and Nana said she woke up in the middle of the night, crying, saying she heard voices. Then she told Nana that "Jerry" had told her about the voices and that there was monsters all around the house. Her Nana had to hold her tight until finally, an hour or two later, she fell asleep. I completely understand having nightmares, but I feel like this is going to the extreme. As I'm typing this, she has been talking about Jerry for five minutes straight. I'm getting really concerned about my daughter. Also, she starts preschool this week. Could it be that? Do I need to consult her pediatrician? ANY advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks!
I have had conversations with my daughter (just turned 3) about fun scary and mean scary, and what the difference is. Very casually, very gently, try to find out which one Jerry is.
If you engage in playtime with your daughter, ask her where Jerry is. Pick up a stuffed animal, laugh, and say Jerry is that you? Gauge your daughter's reaction. See if she can locate Jerry. If it's associated with an object, remove it from your property.
How often does she stay with Nana? Maybe she was just scared her first night there? Could the voices have been a TV or neighbors talking?
Maybe "Jerry" is just something she experiences at home, and was scared at Nana's without it?
If you notice sleeplessness, loss of appetite, or any other unusual health-related concerns (headaches, rash, etc) I would definitely contact your pediatrician. Make the call from outside your home so that your daughter and Jerry can't hear.
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As a kid, one of my imaginary friends turned out to be my dead grandpa, who died before I was born. I dunno what your personal beliefs are about death and souls and such, but she could actually be talking to someone.
There are lots of great books about "monsters" just being creatures who look different from you and they aren;t inherently scary. We often talk to our son about "learning the monster's name" and "asking it over for tea."
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My child (nearly 3) has just begun talking a lot about monsters.
She doesn't do it through an imaginary friend - but they do come up in conversation a lot. Just a couple of days ago she told us there were lots of them in her bedroom. I think they must be a fascinating / frightening / challenging aspect of some (all?) LO's journey's through early childhood.
I just make sure I reinforce during the day time that monsters are just pretend, or not real...and are just things we make up with our imaginations.
Then I go on to ask her questions, trying to veer away from any 'scary' aspects (she lets us know if they're friendly or scary anyway).
'What colour are they?' - at the moment they are all orange, heh heh.
'Do they talk?' - Yes.
'What do they say?' - She's currently telling me they 'say' exactly what she says. Hmm!
We also draw them sometimes. I think it helps her connect to that 'not real, we're making them up' aspect. (I try to make them cuteish, even if she asks for big scary teeth etc.)
I don't know if the imaginary friend is something to be concerned about either - unless it becomes a real problem in some aspects of life? - but I'm no expert. If you're worried, you could find someone to talk to about it.
But monsters - I think monsters are common currency. How you 'deal' with the monsters may or may not be critical...we try and make the monsters silly (e.g. they don't wear pyjamas - they are fluffy, orange, nudie-rudie monsters - takes a bit of the 'bite' out of them.)
I also praise her for having a great imagination and being able to use it to create the monsters in the first place.
PS: Things might change if / when monsters are making her scared enough not to go to bed, or waking her up with bad dreams. Not sure what to do at that stage.
Our experience is that it goes both ways..........the imaginary friend that is in their head.......and then the 'visitors' in the bedroom that when someone else sleeps in my kid's room, they see them as well...............(freaking scary)............BUT.......here's what worked for us for different things........for the monsters in the closet, we keep it closed and we've sprayed monster spray in there (water bottle).........for the other visitors that come during the night, we say special prayers...........and we've also used Holy Water (water blessed by a Catholic priest --possibly done by other priests) in the spray bottle too. BUT...........imagination or something else......remind your little one that you are their super hero and that there isn't anything at night that can hurt them.......if JERRY says there are monsters, YOU tell Jerry that the monsters need to go away. and you can tell the monsters that YOU are the mommy and you are in charge and they need to leave (kids love it when we 'yell' at their monsters......it can work wonders too!