Q:

I am a bit worried. My two young girls, ages 3 and 5, spend a great deal of their time doing pretend play. Is this a good thing for them to do? A lot of it centers on being princesses. They have their princess dolls riding horseback and living in castles. They also dress up as princesses. -- Pretending

A:

It certainly seems to be popular right now for young children to playact being princesses and to play with princess dolls. If you are upset about their concentration on "princesses," you might try providing additional paraphernalia (school, store, kitchen) to broaden their horizons. They may, however, just move their princesses into these new venues.

Pretend play is a wonderful thing for children to do. Educators are very enthused about its benefits. It is a great way to get them ready for school. By playing together, your children are learning to take turns, be part of a team, negotiate and play leader. At the same time, they are enhancing their verbal skills and learning how to solve problems. When your children pretend to be certain princesses, they are learning to appreciate the different perspectives of other people. Pretend play also fosters creativity. Since young children learn by imagining and doing, be glad that they are building so many skills.