Growing up: Fact vs Fantasy
This mom realises that her little girl is at a crossroads between being a princess and learning how to do math.
As the third child in the family, I often felt my elder siblings were far too busy playing with each other to play with me. This is no way an aspersion towards them, we’re very close as adults but it was how I felt at age six.

I guess being the annoying little sister just meant I played on my own a lot.

In a strange way, I’m really thankful for that. It led me to live much of my little life in a fantasy world. My imagination ran wild as I spent my days being a fairy-princess-dinosaur.

Luckily for me, I had a close group of friends in the road we grew up in and all of us knew how to tap into our imaginations. Our fantasy play would often overlap into real life, and there were days where we would only talk to each other “in character”.

We imitated our favourite television heroes - from He-Man to the Care Bears, and everything in between.

My little girl

When I watch my child play, and how she spends her days immersed in her imagination, I see so much of myself at that age.

She’s coming of age, though, where the boundary of real life and fantasy play needs to be set. The real world concepts of literacy and numeracy will soon gain precedence over her playtime, as she enters primary school.

It’s been a concern for me and I’ve been determined to let her stoke her imagination for as long as possible.

She loves to be read to, she loves to explore, and she loves to draw. Those three things keep her imagination going, whilst the world around begins to demand more educational themes within her day.

I realise I have an inbred defiance towards conformity (I get that from my parents). It’s hard for me to start to lean my own daughter towards obeying rules and working within a more rigid framework, that’s focused on education over exploration.

I know we’re at an important crossroads in her precious life. We’re about to take that gigantic step into real school life. For me, though, the most important thing we can do is not stifle her imagination for the sake of learning subtraction.

Finding that balance between fact and fantasy is a constant challenge but, I think she and I will get there – we’ll just learn how to do sums whilst wearing our finest princess outfits. 

Do you encourage your child to revel in their imagination?

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