Yes, they do. Play is the way children start to understand and make sense of their world. Playing with baby dolls allows little ones to model what they’ve seen.
By swaddling and rocking their baby doll, or changing and feeding, your child is practicing taking care of a loved one. They develop their sense of empathy as well as gain another’s perspective -that of Mom/Dad—the more they play in this way.
Benefits of playing with dolls
Playing with dolls allows children to be themselves and to enjoy the freedom of playing without even knowing it.
It will help them to express themselves clearly and deal with feelings, such as being sad, happy or angry. It will help them to make decisions and solve problems. It prepares them for the inevitable ups and downs in life.
Children are dealing with a myriad of emotions and playing with dolls offers them a safe environment and provides an appropriate way to express these strong emotions.
By creating imaginary scenarios for their dolls, they have the ability to see beyond themselves, to understand the repercussions of actions, and to develop important strengths, like caring for others.
Jerome Singer, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the Yale School of Medicine, explains that children have a fundamental need to shrink the large, loud world down to a manageable size so they can test their ideas in everyday situations.
When children use toys to create realistic scenarios or fill in for friends, they have both sides of every conversation, learning about communication, problem solving, and empathy along the way.
Playing with a doll opens up a window into a child’s life. If a child is unhappy, or when the child finds it difficult dealing with emotions, parents have the opportunity to assist and help when needed through role-playing.
Psychologists and educators who study doll play say dolls are among the most important toys of childhood.
“Having a lot of dolls is like having a lot of friends and relatives,” explains psychologist Allana Elovson, who specializes in early socialization for girls and boys.
- Playing with dolls helps kids practice how to interact with other people while allowing them to make mistakes.
- Children need to be able to identify with dolls so that they can imagine the world from their viewpoints and build empathy.