Do you remember your first doll? Maybe it was a baby doll, maybe it was even a Barbie. What was her name? What did she look like? Do you remember the first time you held her in your arms?
My First Doll
My first doll, who I'd even consider her my first best friend, was named Stacy. She was an 18-inch doll from American Girl. My name is Samantha, so you'd think I would have gotten the classic Ms. Parkington, the Victorian-era classic doll. But no, I wanted to design my own so I could make her be into exactly who I wanted her to be.
I remember my grandma signing me up for the American Girl Doll catalog and we'd sit at her kitchen table flipping through the pages for hours on end. We'd look through all of the classics; Molly, Addy, Felicity, and, of course, Samantha too. We'd ooh and ahh over the doll accessories that came with each character and talk about all the ways I would play with each doll. However, one day, I was flipping through the customized dolls, and that's where I saw her face. Blonde hair, green eyes; a big difference from my dark complexion. "That's her," I probably said. "That's Stacy!"
My grandma surprised me with Stacy on Christmas Eve. She came in a beautiful carrying case, dressed up fancy in a red dress and stockings; perfect for the holiday. From that night forward, Stacy stayed by my side every single day. We went on so many adventures, and she was there for me when I needed her most.
I still have Stacy. Sure, her hair is an absolute mess from years of being carried around, followed by years of storage. Her little hands have bite marks from the times my childhood pet, Snowball, thought she was a chew toy. She still holds a place in my heart, and I can't wait to introduce her to my kids when they're ready t meet her.
Why Every Child Needs A Doll
Sure, I may be a bit biased because I think having Stacy in my life helped me with so many real-life experiences and lessons, but even science agrees that playing with dolls is beneficial to a child's development and growth.
Let me prove it to you.
Dolls Teach Children Responsibility. Kids mimic what they see parents and other adults do; sometimes good, sometimes bad. It's often that children start playing "kitchen" or "restaurant" at a young age, and that's because they see mom and dad cooking and serving their meals.
When a child starts to form a bond with their doll, they'll start treating them like their own child. They'll prepare their dolls dinner, tuck them into bed, and brush their hair. I remember even buckling Stacy in with a seat belt when she'd come with me on car rides.
Changing a doll's outfit often also teaches kids the importance of hygiene, dressing for different occasions, and how to express themselves. A Club Eimmie subscription sends children a new Playtime Pack each month, and it will include a new outfit for their doll.
Dolls Help Children Express Their Emotions. According to Genius of Play, through play, including the type with dolls, kids learn to cope with their emotions as they act out fear, frustration, anger, and aggression in a situation they control.
I remember snuggling with Stacy each night before bed and talking to her about my days and feelings. She was a great listener! I was never one to really open up to my parents and adult relatives about what was going on in my life, so having Stacy there as my sounding board helped me so much.
Dolls Are Good For The Brain. Literally! Our friends at Genius of Play said it best: Self-directed play gives kids the opportunity to hone their decision-making skills. Selecting a game, focusing on that activity, and seeing it through to the end, is an important element of cognitive control, and helps sharpen their planning skills and attention spans.
My parents always joke with me about how when I'd be playing with Stacy, they were free to nap and get stuff done because they knew I was occupying myself and wouldn't get into any trouble. They didn't know then that the benefits of giving me that time to play would help me learn and grow the way it did.
So if you're deciding whether or not to purchase a doll for a child in your life, take pride in knowing that it will be well worth it.