I write this blog in my third week of homeschooling my girls due to Covid-19.
The time I have to make dolls is drastically reduced but I am so priviledged to be safe with my girls and to be able to watch them play, involving their dolls in all their games and activities. My daughters are now 8 and 10 years old – and their dolls are very much part of our family.
Doll play is important, no, essential, in helping children understand the world around them.
If the doll is correctly introduced initially to your child (I send out a guide to this with my dolls), and they aren’t overwhelmed with other toys and screens, it can lead to a very special relationship. Full of love and caring, companionship and belonging. A favourite doll becomes a real person to a child and is the most important toy they can ever have.
In the current crisis we need them more than ever.
So without further rambling here are my top five reasons while we should be encouranging doll play during this time:
1. A doll can be a good friend – they always listen to problems. By sharing their burdens with their dolly, your child can begin to formulate their feelings and thoughts.
2. Children can act out different roles and gain perspective of their situation. They can be in a school as a teacher, acting out nurturing as a parent, playing with another child, or imagining a hospital and being a doctor or a nurse.
3. Play therapists use dolls in sessions to allow children to relive tramatic experiences – you may find your little one re-enacting this time in future play as a way of processing the situation we are in and moving on.
4. A special doll can be the key to unlocking your child’s imagination – sending them off to a world of imagination. With their doll by their side they can go anywhere – be that travelling the choppy seas in a boat made from a cardboard box, exploring the savana in the long grass at the bottom of the garden or entering a world of minibeasts in the flower bed. They can imagine so many worlds whilst staying safe at home.
5. My final point is something that seems even more poignant at the moment. A child knows that they are looked after and loved by their parents – however they are also the ones in control of their day to day lives. A doll allows a child to be ‘the boss’ and gives them the chance to be in ‘charge’. With there being so many changes to their day-to-day lives your child may start putting controls on their dolls when playing. I’ve overheard my daughters’ play and they tell each other to pretend that the virus never happened when they play – I wish I could join them in their imaginary world.
Whilst my two girls are so close and play together my heart goes out to all the children in lock-down who are only children, or living in a one-child households at the moment. I hope they have a doll who can be a good friend to them and be a great companion during these strange times.
For these reasons my shop remains open as long as the Post Office is. My making times are extended to three weeks but I am fully stocked with lambswool, fabrics and threads ready to make your child’s special doll. Stay safe and stay home!