It may seem like an easy enough task: Pick out a doll for your child (or niece, granddaughter, etc.) and see her face light up when she opens it. And then you start shopping and realize that there are way more doll options out there than you knew existed.
So now what? How do you choose the right doll for your child?
In another post, we discussed 5 features to look for in a baby doll which will help you once you've have broken things down – taking into account their age and personality. Only then will you be able to know for sure that you have selected the perfect doll for the special child in your life.
What to consider to choose the right type of doll for your child:
Consider the Age
One of the most crucial factors to consider when selecting a doll is the age of the child you are buying it for. While safety concerns are surely important, children of different ages also use dolls in distinctive ways. You need to choose one that coincides with these tendencies.
Newborn – At this stage, safety is a top priority. The doll should not have any little pieces, long hair that can be chewed, or parts that are too hard. Children this age are all about the cuddles, so first lovies and cloth dolls are ideal. Plus, something machine washable is always a smart choice at this sure-to-be-messy age.
Ages 3+ – Once the child is a little bit older, she will want her play doll to be more versatile. The ability to change its clothes, sit it upright, and make it move are all plusses. Nurturing and caring is key for this age. As babies grow up, they begin to develop a sense of self and are celebrating their everyday routines. Toddlers are gaining confidence in the world around them and learn to reciprocate the loving care they receive. They enjoy activities and playtime fun around what is familiar – bathtime, mealtime, napping, pets, doctor visits. Their play includes lots of discovery and nurturing, playing little mommy – taking care of others thru dressing and feeding, imitating what is done to them is exactly how toddlers play with their dolls – they are no longer the baby, they are the little care giver to their loved baby doll. They feed their dolls, play house, change their diapers, give them baths and take them on playdates!
Around 5/6 – As girls enter early elementary school, they are striving to grow and learn all about themselves, they love to Celebrate! Playing with dolls and using their imagination is high on moms list of activities, never limited, and always encourages. For girls ages 3 through 7, play centers around a fun, dreamer world. This age range is full of girls who are exploring and observing their environments in comfortable and exciting ways. These girls love to celebrate who they are and who they want to be – a
cowgirl, a sparkly ballerina, a princess. And we want to encourage her along the way to play!
Dolls, across every age, from newborn, on up, are found to provide key qualities that resonate with moms and grandmothers. The top 5 qualities are: teach responsibility, practice real-life, comforting, relaxing and positive play.
Now, a child this age can pretty much handle any doll from a newborn baby doll, to an more sophisticated 18” play doll, with the exception of the collectible ones (but you wouldn’t get that for a child anyway). These older children love brushing the doll’s hair and having an abundance of accessories to play with. This doll will be their best friend, so it should still be durable, as it will be going everywhere with them.
Ponder the Personality
Next, it’s time to evaluate what personality traits the little girl possesses. There are usually two different characteristics to pay attention to when selecting a doll:
The Dreamer – Does the child you are buying the doll for have a vivid imagination? Are they always going on pretend adventures throughout the house and very rarely sit still? With this personality, play dolls are the best option. The doll becomes the co-captain on every journey, and comes in many varieties that can match with the child’s favorite pastimes.
The Nurturer – On the other hand, if the child is always offering to help with their younger sibling, or is drawn to babies when you go out, a nursery doll may be a better choice. These dolls are ideal for rocking and cuddling and allow the child to pretend she is a mommy.
By evaluating a child’s age and personality, you will be able to easily choose the perfect doll for them: A doll that is sure to be their new best friend.
Did you have a favorite doll growing up? Planning on giving a doll to someone special in your life? Tell us in the comments below!