Can Amy play, too?

It’s great to see their imagination running riot

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She’ll spend many a happy hour acting out games with real people as well as pretend people within her stories.

‘Imaginary play gives children freedom from the rules and restraints of the real world,’ says child psychologist Diane Melvin.

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‘It lets them create a world where they can work out events and let out anxieties they may not be able to express another way.’

‘It’s fine for children to tell tall stories or have an imaginary friend, although they may need help in knowing where to draw the line.’

By allowing her to express herself without restraint you could be setting her up to be creative for life.

Diane says: ‘Children who have a creative imagination in the early years tend to be more creative thinkers later in life.’

She’s throwing a wobbly!

Find out what’s behind her tantrums and how you can solve them

The Wobbly

Why she’s doing it

How you can resolve it

She’s demanding sweeties all the way around the supermarket at the top of her voice.

She’s trying to force you to give her her way. Cave in once and she’ll repeat the tactic each time she wants something.

Remove her from the situation. Use the ‘broken record’ technique, repeating the same phrase over and over again.

You’re coming home from a day trip when her back goes as stiff as a board and she simply refuses to sit in her seat.

This one’s down to stress. She may be tired or hungry and having to get into the car seat has made her lose control.

Hold her in your arms and let her cry it out. Afterwards let her know she’ll feel better once she’s eaten or slept.

She’s refusing to put on the smart dress and shoes you’ve picked out for a special occasion.

She hasn’t got the words to explain to you what she wants, or she doesn’t understand what you’re saying.

Find out what she doesn’t understand, and explain it in simple language. Often a compromise will resolve the crisis.

Ask Prima Baby

He won’t do what he’s told

‘My son Andrew is 2 and getting more and more forceful. His latest things is to shout, “I don’t want to go home” if I try to get him to leave somewhere. I’ve tried ignoring and distracting him, but nothing works. I often end up resorting to bribery – for instance, letting him play with his toys at the table while I spoon dinner into his mouth – but I worry I’m storing up trouble for later.’

Liz Brewster, 42, from Olney, Bucks, mum to Andrew, 2.

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Child psychologist, Jo Douglas replies: ‘Toddlers can be very wilful at this age as they are learning how to gain control and get their own way. It sounds as if your son has worked out how to get the better of you. You need to get back in charge by being clear and firm but calm with him. Make sure you carry through what you say, that he does what you’ve asked him to do, and then tell him he’s good for having done it. If he has a tantrum then ignore him, but make sure he does what he’s told after he’s finished screaming. If you shout and get upset it makes the situation worse, so do your best to stay calm throughout. Try not to take short cuts – for example, spoon-feeding him. Lots of kisses and genuine praise will make him listen in the future.’

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