Mother–Child Fantasy Play

Angeline S. Lillard

in The Oxford Handbook of the Development of Play

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195393002
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Mother–Child Fantasy Play


Although historically theorists ignored the role of parents in children’s pretending, recent research has shown that American mothers model pretense behaviors for infants and coach young children’s early pretense attempts. In this chapter I first highlight four features that distinguish mothers’ pretending from children’s pretending with peers or solo. Next I discuss how mothers might help avert confusion in their early presentations of pretense, namely by changing their canonical behaviors in ways that might signal pretense (or “don’t’ take this seriously”) to their children.

Keywords: Keywords; Pretend play; mother–child interaction

Article.  9617 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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