When I am at craft fairs, someone will stop, admire my dolls, and then say they only have boys so they can’t buy one. I do explain that many of my dolls are gender neutral to appeal to all children but often the mind is closed and the battle is lost.
I have two girls, no sons, but work hard to bring them up in a gender neutral environment, and I would do the same if I had boys. My girls have equal access to toys, play kitchen, toy trains, toy cars, lego, musical instruments and dressing up.
I would argue that dolls have a place in child’s life, regardless of whether they are a boy or a girl. Here are my top three reasons why all children should have at least one dolly (read my post on what a Waldorf dolly is to find out why I think they are the best type of doll).
1. Children copy what the adults around them do in play
Children see their mother and father caring for them and their siblings; walking them in the pushchair, feeding and keeping them clean and they naturally want to copy in their playtime. Not allowing this play prevents your child from acting out the loving parenting skills they will need later in life.
2. Dolls teach children to love and care
Dollies are a brilliant opportunity for a child to care for something. Introduced properly and treated with respect by you, a doll can be a perfect chance to have responsibility for something.
3. Quiet time
If your child is particularly active a doll can be an excellent opportunity for a quiet time.
The technique I’ve heard is to introduce the doll quietly. Sit the doll on the sofa next to you while you are drinking a cup of tea or (trying) to read a magazine. In no time, as is always the way when you stop, your child while notice you and the dolly and want to play. Explain the the doll (give him a name) doesn’t like noise and bustle and is looking for a nice place to live. His favourite thing is to read stories together. Of course your child will want the doll and will promise to give him a loving home. Keep up this play acting, noticing if the play gets rough/manic and suggest the dolly is getting tired and sit him back on the sofa. Maybe you can make a bed for him, you need to teach your child to care for the doll. I’ve heard this works really well and in no time the doll is a precious member of the family and the child uses the doll as an excuse for their own quiet time.
Does your little boy love dolls? Do you have family arguing that boys shouldn’t play with dolls? Do you have a girl who hates dolls? I would love to hear about what works for your family.