Most girls play with dolls. Doll play is probably the favorite and most popular activity with little girls. However, if you have a little boy, don’t think that playing with dolls (dolls, and not only superhero figurines) is not appropriate for your kid. Both boys and girls benefit from doll play.
3 Reasons Why Doll Play Is Important For Both Boys And Girls
1. Dolls contribute to development of cognitive, fine-motor and self-help skills
Don’t wait for too long to introduce a doll into your baby’s life. Even if your child has only learned to sit it’s high time you gave him or her a doll of appropriate size to play with. A doll can become a secure companion for your child while exploring the new world of textures and shapes as a little baby, and later become a confidante doll as your kid grows up.
In case of self-help skills, kids use dolls for practicing before applying these skills to themselves. And as boys can develop the fine-motor and self-help skills a bit later than girls, they’re even in greater need of a doll, than girls. Kids use dolls to practice removing clothes and putting them on, feeding, brushing teeth, bathing, grooming, and even potty training.
Dolls are also useful when you try to help you kid overcome a certain fear, for example, a fear of bathing, as your kid acts as an adult while bathing the doll, and is responsible for all the manipulations, and is the one to use and take control over all the necessary supplies, like shampoo, water, etc. Having control makes kids feel better about the experience and eventually learn to accept it not as a torture but as a part of daily routine.
At the age of two or three your child begins to act as if the doll is a living thing as they begin to interact with it. They also learn to perform a sequence of actions, like feeding the doll, bathing it and putting to bed. While interacting with a doll kids also practice speech and language skills, as well as reenact situations they become a part of in their lives. This cognitive re-framing helps kids understand the events better. Doll play can also help your child to see the situation from another person’s perspective, which is an important skill to acquire.
2. Dolls help develop caring and nurturing skills
Caring for another person is an important socio-emotional skill to develop, and dolls play a huge part in this process. While playing with a doll your kid learns to take care of it and to be responsible for its well-being, making sure the “baby” has everything it might need: it’s fed, it’s warm, it’s happy.
3. Dolls help your kid prepare for the birth of a sibling
Kids need a lot of time to get used to the idea of having to share love and care of their parents with a little brother or sister. Playing with a doll can teach your kid how to take care of an infant. When the new baby arrives, a doll can help your kid deal with less attention as he or she can now be a parent too, a mommy or daddy who has to take care of the baby, just like their mom.
As to dolls, the simpler the doll, the more imagination your kid should have to play with it. In this respect complex dolls may be distracting, as the initiative to play should come from your kid, not the doll.