Why are dolls important?

Why are dolls important?
I’m not a childhood expert, I don’t have a degree in child studies and I am not a eduction specialist. I’m a mummy to two little girls and I was once a doll-mad child myself, along with a little brother who loved to play with my baby dolls and his action figures. This is just my five thoughts on why I think dolls are so important for child’s play. 

1. First friend

A doll can be a first friend, a playmate. I think this is especially true for children that are the first born, or don’t have siblings close in age, as it gives them a long standing buddy to join in their games. I can remember playing snakes and ladders with my dolls, rolling the dice for them, before my brother was old enough to play. 

For nervous or shy children a little doll slipped into their pocket can be a great comfort in different places with unknown people.   
2. Someone to care for

Child’s play often imitates what the adults around them do. A doll is an opportunity to act out the care they receive from beloved family members, friends and carers. A little child might want to copy their mother breastfeeding their younger sibling, or their father pushing them on the swing. It gives them an early opportunity to reflect the love they are given.   
3. Role play

As children mature, they will come across situations which they need to deal with. My daughters’ role play doctors and nurses with their dolls. When I think about it, this play is often initiated when one of them has been poorly, fallen over or had a trip to the doctors. 

All children need to be taught right from wrong, in our house we have a time-out step. Afterwards, when kisses and hugs are given and apologies made, my daughters’ play often results in them putting their dolls on the time-out step. As they grow and mature doll-play will allow them to develop their emotions when dealing with tricky situations.   
4. Unlocks a world of imagination

As well as allowing children to deal with reality, dolls help their little worlds to take off. They can be, do and believe anything. Exploring the Amazon river behind the sofa, driving in racing car on the armchair, washed out to sea in the washing basket and climbing the Faraway Tree in the garden. My girls always have their dolls out with them on their adventures.   
5. Gives control to the child

Naturally, children have to do what their carers tell them to do. They need to wash their hands before tea, they need to eat their fruit and veg, they have to put their toys away at the end of the day. There are so many things that they have no control over. A doll gives a child a chance to ‘be in charge’. They can decide when the dolly goes to bed, what dolly wears, and what dolly eats. It always amuses me to hear my girls mimicking what I tell them they need to do, and why they must do to it, to Enid, Polly and Rosie. I think dolls must be critical for releasing pent-up emotional energy, especially since my eldest started school, and school related role play started.   
Please add your own thoughts and experiences in the comments below. I would love to read your thoughts! 

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