The humble toy doll can have a number of benefits for your toddler, so whether you have a boy or a girl, a doll is one toy with the potential to teach your little one about the world, here’s why.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Dolls teach toddlers how to act around real babies: If your toddler has a toy doll, you can reinforce the point that you have to be gentle when touching its head, kissing it on the cheek or feeling its tiny toes. If your toddler is able to be considerate around a doll, they will be careful when they come to meet new babies. As with everything you teach your child, always tell them why you are doing something.

Dolls help toddlers how to count: Ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes- you can count each one with your little one to help them with their numbers. They can also help with colours too- as you can talk about eye colour and the colours on what it’s wearing to add another layer of learning.   

Dolls help toddlers with identifying parts of the body: Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’- as the song goes... ‘eyes and ears and a mouth and a nose’… a doll is a means of not only singing and teaching your toddler the words of the song but pointing out each of these body parts so they can name them in the future and recognise them on their own body. 

Dolls are something to care for: Your toddler will probably want to care for their doll just as you care for them so don’t be surprised if they want to change it’s nappy or feed it because this is what they see you do every day. It’s important to encourage such behaviour because caring for others shows that they are thinking about more than just their own needs. 

Dolls encourage empathy: If your toddler drops their doll on the floor, you can teach them to mend a ‘boo boo’ by nursing it back to health or by soothing it with a cuddle, a kiss and kind words. These all show that your toddler is starting to form empathy for those around them. It’s important that they recognise when people are sad or hurt so they can act accordingly.

Dolls are something to look after: If you have chosen not to have a pet, a doll is another means of teaching your child to look after another ‘being’. For instance if you encourage them to feed their doll when you are having dinner or shush the doll to sleep when you are putting your toddler down, they will have a sense of what it’s like to look after something other than themselves. 

Dolls are a means of getting your toddler to do the right thing: You can use a dolly to teach your toddler right and wrong and your own family rules. For instance ‘your shouting is making dolly very sad, let's stop and make her happy again’, ‘dolly is going to sleep now, why don’t you too?’, 'look dolly is going on the potty, why don't you go now?' are a few choice phrases to use when you want your child to understand how to act and to fit in with your schedule. They are more likely to do something if their see their doll doing it first and are less likely to do something if they feel they are upsetting their beloved toy.

Dolls are an incredible learning source, so if your toddler has one, use it as more than just a carry around for your child. 

MORE: Seven toddler toys that are worth spending your money on

Toddlers are experts at making a mess and making noise, but if you don’t want them to make either, here are a few toys that my daughter keeps going back to time and time again. I have chosen these because they capture her attention for longer periods and keep her entertained in solo play and with us... to read on click HERE 

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