At all times, and all over the world, dolls are extremely popular toys. And there is reason: in fact, playing with dolls is a game that evolves at the same pace as the child.
A universal toy if there ever was one, there are tons of different dolls, each of which responds to a stage in the child's development. The doll, in addition to providing pleasure to the child, is a toy that helps to better understand everyday life through repetition and imitation. In addition, the doll allows the child to indirectly express the feelings he feels. It is also a source of emotional support.
It is around 18 months that the child begins the first imitation games (also called symbolic games), with his doll. She becomes, in a way, a double of himself and he reproduces on her everything you do on him: changing the diaper, brushing the hair, the teeth, feeding him… This is why the child will be more attracted to dolls that somehow look like her. He will want to rock his doll, take it for a stroll, and that's why it shouldn't be too big. Dolls with eyes that can open and close are alwaysvery popular: they make sleeping so much more fun!
The doll doesn't need to talk, laugh or cry to engage your child - and this is true at any age! The simpler it is, the more creativity your child will have to use!
Between 2 and 3 years old
Between 2 and 3 years old, the child, who has grown up, fully enters the symbolic game. So don't be surprised if you hear him scolding his doll, repeating the words you used yourselves, with him. At this age, the child likes to take care of the doll and, since his movements and his vocabulary are more precise, his games are too. With his doll, the child takes pleasure in repeating the routines he follows: he feeds her, changes her diaper, bathes her, dresses her, walks her… Encourage her by complimenting her on the way she take care of your baby: this will have the effect of giving him confidence in his abilities.
Unlike other children, the doll is a docile and stable playmate, making it a much-loved "companion".
Between 3 and 6 years old
It is around the age of three that the child begins to like to play with dolls with other children. The doll then becomes an important element of socialization. Thanks to it, the child develops his social skills: he learns to share, as well as to take into account the opinions of others. Your child's scenarios are increasingly long and complex. In these games, the doll often embodies the child, whilehe places himself in the shoes of an adult: mum, dad, teacher, educator, doctor…
After 6 years
After the age of 6, the game becomes “staged”, that is to say that the child projects himself into the doll. He himself becomes the character, whom he makes move, talk, and to whom all sorts of adventures happen. We then speak of a “mannequin doll”. The universe in which the child then switches is above all an adult universe: he thus imagines himself in a world where he is bigger and in which he is free to realize all the prohibitions.
Indeed, in reality, the child is constantly confronted with the adult, who has the right to do what is refused to the youngest. These prohibitions attract the child, with good reason! He therefore reproduces them in the game. Playing with dolls becomes a way of regulating all his emotions and frustrations. The more the child is free in the game, the more he will be able to express his personality.
For the boys?
Doll games help the child to build emotionally. In addition, by indulging in role-playing games, the child refines his vocabulary and his ability to invent scenarios. Of course, all these benefits should not be reserved for girls only! We must therefore, once and for all, get rid of this archaic idea that boys shouldn't play with dolls. All toys develop different skills, in children, regardless of gender.
Barbie - for or against?
Thefamous doll, which has amused several generations of little girls, is causing a lot of talk. She has, among other things, been accused of leading children to anorexia. Would Barbie mold a distorted view of femininity in children?
We know: the measurements of the pretty blonde are not the least bit realistic. However, realism is not a criterion for a doll, since the child uses it to project himself into an imaginary world. In fact, some psychologists claim that, for this reason, we should favor toys that deviate from reality.
Barbie is what we call a “model doll”. It is intended for children over 6 years old (it was also created for children from 8 to 10 years old.) Theoretically, it promotes identification with femininity. She indeed represents the woman, without the maternal side that prevailed until then.
It is noted that the Barbie doll often ends up in the hands of much younger children. The doll's clothes are difficult to put on, however, for children under 5 years old. Also, at this age, children should get more pleasure from playing with a “baby” doll than with an “adult” doll.