Abracadabra! Abracadbra! Little Elliot’s eyes glittered and her face glowed as the coin disappeared into thin air. My daughter didn’t eat chocolates for an entire day when I told her that the Tooth Fairy will return her tooth only if she stops eating them. I am not lobbying for promoting mythical characters like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
Experts say, the benefits of kids believing in the make-believe world of magic range from empowerment to creativity.
Did you know? The Magic Lab (part of the psychology department at Goldsmiths, University of London) stands for Mind Attention and General Illusory Cognition - a university laboratory dedicated to understanding magic.
Learning magic tricks strengthens a child’s problem-solving abilities and they also learn the importance of patience, practice, courage and persistence. Great magicians like Harry Houdini and P.C.Sorcar were known to create stories around their magic tricks. The act of presenting their thoughts and ideas in clear, interesting, compelling ways prepares them for public speaking skills helpful in other acts of life.
Benefits of a Child Believing in Magic
As they grow older - typically around 9 years, their magical beliefs start to dwindle; developmental benefits lasting a lifetime are evident in kids who keep believing in the power of imagination. When children encounter obscurity or abnormality that surprises them, they are intrigued to explore more.
Laura Schulz, a professor of cognitive science at MIT performed an experiment with 5-year-olds. She gave them some blocks that balanced in the middle (5-year-olds expect them to) and some blocks that balanced unevenly. When a block was out of balance, children kept playing trying to decode the mystery instead of moving on to a new toy. Children love exploring.
Reality bogs you down as you grow older. Hence, a healthy dose of childlike innocence and positivity is recommended to stay happy as an adult. Children who believe in magic have a curious mindset and a sense of wonder.
Making the shift from illusion to reality is quite difficult for a parent. Dr. Benjamin Siegel, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine, says, "children who learn the truth tend to be upset, but not nearly upset as their parents". On the contrary, some children feel a sense of empowerment and trust in keeping a secret from their siblings and friends. When Sasha’s parents asked her to continue creating the mystery around Elsa and Anna (Frozen Movie) for her sister Vanella, she felt more involved in the adult world and that her parents trusted her.
"A belief in magic gives a child permission to express their creativity or imagination." says, Maureen Healy, child psychologist, author of The Emotionally Healthy Child, and parenting coach at Growinghappykids.com.
Magic makes the impossible seem possible. This belief helps children unleash the power of creativity and create something out of nothing.
Memories and Traditions
When a child fears the dark, the father gives him a locket filled with magical powers. He says to his child- Clutch the locket and your fear will vanish.
The locket didn’t actually contain any magic, but believing otherwise helped the child overcome his fear. This sweet memory remains forever etched in his memory and he passes it along to his children thus paving way for a family tradition. Their innocence, purity and openness is what transforms them into beautiful adults.
The love of magic transcends age. It allows us to forget our day-to-day worries for a few hours and hope for something better. Which is why we are dazzled by it. I sign off with this great quote by Roald Dahl -
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”
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