Question and Answers

The Benefits of Playing With Dolls

Social-Emotional Skills. Children use play to comprehend their world. Doll play helps kids: clinic caring and nurturing (socio-emotional)re-enact interactions with their own caregivers, family members, and friends (cognitive reframing) prepare for a sibling (rehearsal). Regardless of a child's gender, these abilities are valuable life lessons. In carrying, holding, feeding, and rocking a baby doll, kids are practicing being loving to others. They may be mimicking how they recall being taken care of as a kid, or how they see adults in their world caring for children. Just as children copy parents talking on the phone, working in the kitchen, vacuuming, etc., doll play is no different. It's children's way by practicing these everyday events begin to create the world and to comprehend their own. Play is also. Doing so enables them to increase their understanding of the events. They are also able to take on the opposite role, which enables them to view things from another's perspective (SUCH an important skill to acquire!) . Many times children will enjoy taking on the adult role in order for them to feel a sense of control and power. This makes complete sense because kids have very little control over their world (for some essential and very good reasons). Giving a child the opportunity to have control and some power in play allows them to give it a try in a safe way.
Playing with baby dolls is also a wonderful way for young children to get ready for the birth of a sibling. Parents can model ways to care and suitably touch for an infant which can give the sib-to-be a taste of what they can expect. When the baby arrives, the can care for their own baby doll directly alongside dad and mom. This can be particularly helpful since it is quite normal (for obvious reasons) for the older sibling to never get as much attention once the baby arrives. Being able to have their own activity -- but still feel on the parent(s) and family -- can help a child ease into having an extra member in the household. Some kids will prefer to play out these same situations with other stuffed toys or miniatures because they feel better connected to them or they need the play to be removed (less real to the actual situation) than playing with baby dolls. I am mentioning this because I do not want parents/caregivers to think that because a child doesn't play with baby dolls they practice and can't learn these skills. However, I do believe that baby dolls offer kids something unique that toys simply can't do.

Asked by: King J. | Location: Chicago, IL | Oct 12, 2020

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