Recommend, 2018

Editor'S Choice

Sharing The dolls are also children's thing: playing with them makes them develop empathy

Laura Guerrero

If our daughter asks us for a construction game or a ball, we run to buy them, happy to be educating her without gender stereotypes. However, if our child asks for dolls or a cart, do we react the same?

If the answer is that we would not be depriving our son of a very valuable experience, since these toys are a great tool to educate in equality. In addition, playing with dolls helps them develop empathy.

Emotions are not just girls' thing

Educating in emotions is one of the great steps forward that we have given parents today with respect to the previous generation. We want happy children, but also know how to face the challenges of life and that happens to have a good emotional basis that we cultivate practically since they are born, every time we take them in their arms when they cry.

As they grow older they learn through play and that is where we can use toys as learning tools. Why is it terrific that they play with dolls?

  • They are symbolic toys that help them understand the world. When they imitate us and play at being doctors or policemen or when they become gentlemen and superheroes they are learning to differentiate the real from the imaginary.
  • They serve to develop empathy, because they make them put themselves in the place of the other.
  • They are a great tool to educate on equality: children feeding, giving a kiss or walking in your cart to your baby as does dad with the little brother helps them understand that taking care of the kids is a matter of two.
  • They are affective toys: If the child is happy he will hug his doll, if he is angry he can throw him to the ground. If you constantly scold your dolls you may be receiving too many reprimands.
  • They help them internalize the rules: many times our children repeat to their dolls the messages we give them every day: "Now you have to go to sleep because it's too late and you have to rest". By repeating it, they are embracing the idea and can serve to make it easier to go to sleep.
  • The shy children benefit a lot from the game with dolls because they can behave as they are without fear of the reaction of others.

Not only for girls

A study by the Technological Institute of the Children's Product and Leisure (AIJU) shows the change that has occurred in recent years in preferences for toys: almost 60% of children play with dolls and 35% of families buy dolls / dolls for their sons.

However, there is still a certain reserve when it comes to buying dolls and trolleys for children, and not just with toys. Many of the clothes that my little daughter carries are inherited from her brother, but sometimes I wonder if it would be the same if she were the oldest. Would I send my son to the nursery with those pastel-colored shirts, with all those bows, strass ...? The truth, I do not know.

And it is that, in the industry of the clothes as in the one of the toys a change is needed. Parents can encourage our children to play with dolls, but we also need toys with which children can feel identified, beyond the pink strollers full of ties and babies.

Ideas that inspire

If playing with dolls has so many advantages and I can not find any that I like in stores, why not create them myself? So began Wonder Crew, a small firm that designs dolls inspired by superheroes, firemen, astronauts or adventurers.

The dolls have different skin tones and come with a costume so that the child can play with "mini-me" to be the same character: "It is like an equal, but also small enough and vulnerable enough for a child to be able to take care of him, "says Laurel Wider, a New York psychologist who had the idea of ​​creating this collection of dolls when her son returned one day from school saying that his teacher had told him that" the boys are not supposed to cry ".

As parents, we have the task of educating our sons and daughters, avoiding transmitting gender stereotypes. As consumers, demand that sexism end in the toy industry and, in the meantime, let the children play with whatever they want. The dolls are also children's stuff.

In babies and more So yes: the catalog of toys that breaks with gender stereotypes and that other toy stores should imitate, The 12 most frequent mistakes we make when buying toys for children