What do unicorns want

Cute unicorns say hello from their drinking cups or pajamas - and win children's hearts with them. But their non-existence puts parents in a bind. How do I explain this to my child?

One encounters a unicorn in many children's rooms. It comes as a stuffed animal, on pencil cases, cell phone cases or bed linen, sometimes with stardust, sometimes without glitter.

The mythical creature stands for wonder, magic and the good. But how should parents react when the child asks: "Does the unicorn really exist?"

"The phenomenon can be compared with Santa Claus. Just as the unicorn can exist in the minds of children," says Dorothea Jung from the online advice service of the Federal Conference for Educational Advice (bke). If the child asks on their own, however, they would answer truthfully.

For the "unveiling", the local zoo might even be an ideal place. "When you visit the zoo, you could show the child similar animals and explain where they actually live and how," suggests the teacher. Then it could be shown that there is no such thing as a unicorn and that the cute animal is a mythical creature.

While looking at bears, for example, you can show the child that there is no classic teddy bear either. "Then the child sees and learns that a cuddly toy bear looks very different from a real brown or polar bear," suggests Jung. (dpa)