5 Benefits of Encouraging Your Child’s Imagination

Learning to think symbolically expands a child's mind.
As a parent you might never guess all the ways a good imagination benefits your child. It helps a preschooler: Develop social skills As children play pretend, they explore relationships between family members, friends and co-workers and learn more about how people interact. Playing doctor, they imagine how physicians care for their patients. Playing house, they learn more about how parents feel about their children. Imaginative play helps develop empathy for others. If children can imagine how it feels to be left out of a game or to lose a pet, they are better able to help those in need. They become more willing to play fair, to share, and to cooperate. Build self-confidence Young children have very little control over their lives. Imagining oneself as a builder of skyscrapers or a superhero defending the planet is empowering to a child. It helps them develop confidence in their abilities and their potential. Boost intellectual growth Using the imagination is the beginning of abstract thought. Children who can see a king’s castle in a mound of sand or a delicious dinner in a mud pie are learning to think symbolically. This skill is important in school where a child will have to learn that numerals symbolize groups of objects, letters symbolize sounds, and so on. Practice language skills Kids who play pretend with their friends do a lot of talking. This helps boost their vocabulary, improve sentence structure and enhance communication skills. Work out fears Playing pretend can help children work out their fears and worries. When children role-play about the big, bad monster under the bed, they gain a sense of control over him and he doesn’t seem quite so big or so bad. Imaginative play also helps kids vent confusing feelings they might have, such as anger toward a parent or rivalry with a new sibling. To encourage your youngster’s imagination, read to him every day. Books offer children the opportunity to visit other worlds and create new ones of their own.

Bruno Bettelheim (Uses of Enchantment: Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales)
The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales is a 1976 book by Austriaborn American psychologist Bruno Bettelheim in which he analyses fairy tales in terms of Freudian psychology. In the book, Bettelheim discusses the emotional and symbolic importance of fairy tales for children, including traditional tales at one time considered too dark, such as those collected and published by the Brothers Grimm. Bettelheim suggested that traditional fairy tales, with the darkness of abandonment, death, witches, and injuries, allowed children to grapple with their fears in remote,symbolic terms. If they could read and interpret these fairy tales in their own way, he believed, they would get a greater sense of meaning and purpose. Bettelheim thought that by engaging with these socially evolved stories, children would go through emotional growth that would better prepare them for their own futures.
  Fairy tales flaunt human flaws and highlight universal problems to not only instruct children but arouse curiosity and stimulate intellect. “The juxtaposition of opposite characters is not for the purpose of stressing right behavior. Presenting the polarities of characters permits the child to comprehend easily the difference between the two.

and that for many years he inflicted severe verbal and physical abuse on the children under his care in a group home." said Mark Abley in a 1992 article in the Montreal Gazette." Fairy Tales:      Show that life is a struggle Speak to the issues of children (kind of issues that kids think about that parents and teachers refuse to talk about—e. The images evoked by fairy tales do this. 6. "It's now clear that he plagiarized parts of The Uses of Enchantment. folk tales. .) and tries to achieve this reward by following a morally upright life.He breaks down all the Disney-adopted fairy tales like "Snow White" and "Cinderella" as well as lesser known folk tales like "The Queen Bee" and "Brother and Sister" and exposes the "true" lessons they teach children. Almost all of the stories have a happy ending. etc. Bettelheim was found out for being a fraud. mother goose books are the basis for many storylines that children learn in school. Display the emotions of the isolated character which can be related to times when a child experience emotional aloofness/remoteness/seclusion. Good is rewarded and bad is punished. They have good and appealing plots. 10. (“Pack a Bunny”) 3. Children can identify or relate with the stories. Visual Literacy: Teaching kids to look critically at visual images. Parables. "Hansel and Gretel" helps a child get over separation anxiety when he or she comes of age and needs to discover autonomy. 8. They ease the bitter realities of the world. 7. The Art of Children’s Literature 1. It also teaches not to be overcome by greed (eat bread and not sweets). misleading and inaccurate. The little guy beats the big guy. They are fast moving and short since they are based on oral tradition. 3. 4. Bettelheim delves/digs into the Freudian definition of the id. Wish fulfilment—(wants. 5. death) Pose a moral message Let the readers identify with the hero who wants the reward (popularity. Wishes come true after the main character surpasses trials and tribulation. money. ego and superego and asserts that "the child's unconscious processes can become clarified for him only through images which speak directly to his unconscious. Harvard professor Maria Tatar is the first to challenge his overly Freudian analysis of fairy tales in her book "Off With Their Heads!: Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood. They spark imagination.g. Why do kids like folk tales? 1. girl.g. 9. 2. 2. Folk literature is an extension of Mother Goose. teaching the natural order of transferring attachment and loyalty. "Snow White" is about a teenage girl who breaks away from her Freudian evil stepmother and is rescued by males." She calls his analysis "radically unjust." But after a prolonged estrangement from his daughters that led to his suicide. desires) e. For example. They have an element of humor.