“It is ridiculous to say that a doll makes a little girl have a false image of herself. What a doll does for a little girl is develop her capacity to love others and herself.” -Madame Alexander
Empathy allows us to share the feelings of others. Kindness is the quality of being caring, friendly and generous. It is the ability to accept and respect others even if they are different. People with kindness often possess a lot of empathy, having a greater understanding of the feelings of those around them, helping them determine how to approach their interactions with others.
Four Things to Know About Doll Play
- Playing with dolls helps children practice interacting with others while allowing them to try out different approaches, make mistakes and improve social skills.
- When children identify with dolls they can imagine the world from their perspectives and build empathy for others.
- Boys, too, gain valuable skills when they play with dolls.
- Unstructured doll play is best so that children can follow their imaginations.
Dolls help children develop both kindness and empathy. According to Joy DeVos, a child development expert, “As a child selects a doll and embarks on an adventure, he or she is crafting a narrative story line, involving literacy skills, self-expression, taking initiative, and more.” These interactions allow children to practice common social interactions, which can translate to real-life results later on, like developing the ability to resolve conflict and create strong relationships.
Developing kindness in our children helps them accept and have compassion for others’ differences. Dolls with different skin tones, features and ethnicities encourage kids to celebrate the differences among us all and choose dolls that they feel that can connect with.
Dr. Laura Jana, pediatrician, child psychologist and author, says, “Subtle marketing images chip away at a child’s perspective of self and others. If doll play is shaping our children’s ability to interpret and communicate with themselves and the world around them right down to the connectivity of neurons in their brains, then we have to take into account whether the toys and tools we give them represent the world.” As children grow up, they will interact with a large variety of people. That’s why giving them the tools to teach them empathy and kindness right from the start is always top of mind at Madame Alexander!