21 answers

4 Year Old Daughter Pretending to Be Animals

So,
my 4 year old daughter has a VERY active imagination, which I think is wonderful! I do not want to hinder it in any way. My daughter will pretend to be a dog sometimes or a cat and it usually will last for a couple hours at the most. But for the last 3 days, going on 4 days, my daughter has been a horse. If I call her to dinner or just address her in any way by her name she immediately corrects me and says, "I'm not Madison, I'm Nay Nay"(Her horsey name, lol). Like I said I love that she has an incredible imagination but now going on the 4th day of this I want my daughter back. I told her "I really wish Madison would come back because I miss my little girl" and she said "I don't know when Madison is coming back, she went on a trip." She also talks in the third person, saying "Nay Nay is hungry" or "Nay Nay wants a drink". Is this strange to last this long? Has any one else gone through this with their children? I guess I just want to know this is a normal stage.
Thanks So Much,
~N.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank You, Everyone, for your responses.
It helps to know I'm not alone in this parenting thing. And it was great to hear some other stories about your kids. I used some suggestions, when she asked to watch cartoons and told her that horses do not watch cartoons only little girls, and she neighed at me and said "well this horsey watches cartoons!". She is just too quick sometimes but eventually when it was time for ice cream and she was not getting any then Madison decided to come back. We made a deal that she could pretend to have a pet horse for a while and not actually be one. We had a few days of a break and now today she is "Woof, Woof" the dog. It is kind of humorous and I am just trying to enjoy this age and feel blessed that she has such a great imagination to entertain herself.
Thanks Again, and God Bless!
~N.

Featured Answers

I used to have to buckle ghost boy (my daughter's imaginary friend) into the car seat and even in the cart at the store. It got old at the time but I miss it now.

My 4 yr old daughter is EXACTLY the same way, her horse name is Oushwa, she has at least 15 imaginary friends and half of them speak their own languages, have friends and family, a home, and favorite colors and foods and games, and all the names are strange or have a "y" sound at the end. Like last night she told my husband a story about a princess named Princessy and a king named Kingy and a wizard named Wizardy. She frequently pretends to be other animals at dinner like a beaver who only eats wood or a horse that only eats grass and insists we call her by the animal name and that we are a mommy, daddy, and big brother of the same animal. She pretends to be a bear and will only bear run around the house.
I do the same as another poster who does something only my daughter can do and she comes back...until the next time.
Good luck and keep having fun.

More Answers

My niece did the exact same thing, except she was a dog. She used the most annoying bark too. This went on for six months or more. She was so bad that the all their neighbors knew she was acting like a dog and one even got her a collar and leash as a gag birthday gift. She is now 7 and is completely normal. I think some kids just like to pretend. My SIL would finally just tell her that it was time to be a little girl again and ignore her if she was a dog. She would pretend for a few hours every day until my SIL stopped her.
Good Luck to you. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

My 4 yr old daughter is EXACTLY the same way, her horse name is Oushwa, she has at least 15 imaginary friends and half of them speak their own languages, have friends and family, a home, and favorite colors and foods and games, and all the names are strange or have a "y" sound at the end. Like last night she told my husband a story about a princess named Princessy and a king named Kingy and a wizard named Wizardy. She frequently pretends to be other animals at dinner like a beaver who only eats wood or a horse that only eats grass and insists we call her by the animal name and that we are a mommy, daddy, and big brother of the same animal. She pretends to be a bear and will only bear run around the house.
I do the same as another poster who does something only my daughter can do and she comes back...until the next time.
Good luck and keep having fun.

My cousin did this for a long time. A couple years off and on. Maybe when she was 3 -5 years old. It was so annoying when whe would come visit us. She would start crawling around and barking! She is now a very succesful college graduate that just recently left for a position in New York in the business world. So......it does end and with nice results!

It's not a big deal, Nat. Really.

However, I would definitely maintain control and when it's playtime she can be NayNay. But when it's time for meals you expect her to respond to Madison. When you're at the helm of the situation, you don't need any extras. So Madison is to put Nay Nay in the barn and be Madison at mealtimes, or bathtime, or bedtime.

Otherwise, hey I did stuff like that as a kid too. I was a 2 in 1 pretense. I galloped around as Zorro's horse Tornado.

You could possibly be prolonging it by asking when Madison is comming back. It is very normal for children her age to pretend to be animals. If you walk into any 4 year old preschool of kindergarten you will see children, girls especially, playing doggie or kitty. I think it is a phase and she will get over it soon. Good Luck!

None of my children did this, but my granddaughter did. She pretended to be cats, dogs,and even her own mom...she even then called me mom and said her aunties were her sisters. I thought it was rather odd, but it was just a stage she went through. She corrected all of us as well. It was a game for her so we just played along. It only lasted a month or so...it will pass.

Sure sounds normal to me! I had a granddaughter who often was a dog. She's grown now, and perfectly normal. Kids are so wonderful at playing pretend. Sometimes they do it if they're under stress or worried/fearful, so you could think about that, but they also just like to do it for fun. She sounds like a great kid!

I used to have to buckle ghost boy (my daughter's imaginary friend) into the car seat and even in the cart at the store. It got old at the time but I miss it now.

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.