You, like all other divorced dads and stepdads, know that you want to have a closer relationship with your young daughter. Well, here is one of the best and quickest ways to become an important part of your child’s little world: Play dolls with her. Yes, don’t back away from this article and head for the door…hear me out.
- If Armin Brott, a former US Marine, can play dolls with his daughters, you can, too.
Fear of Dolls
All dads get nervous when they think about playing dolls with their daughters. But, because your daughter probably lives with her mom, you need to make up for lost time. So, get over your pediophobia (fear of dolls) and your catagelophobia (fear of ridicule), and get down on the ground with your kid and play in your child’s little doll world. That doll world is where your baby lives. It’s where:
- she expresses herself and her emotions.
- she acts out things to understand her world and understand the people she loves.
Single Fathers and Dolls
Dolls are out of your comfort zone, just as playing football is out of mine. So, here is a video of two dads explaining dolls to men.
There are two types of dolls:
- Baby Dolls: Cuddly things for toddlers.
- Fashion Dolls: Dolls with hair and fashion clothes. Girls use these Barbie-style dolls to explore what they want to become when they’re older.
Well, those statements are generalizations. Dolls are about playing and being creative, too, so don’t become obsessed with reading too much meaning into your daughter’s playtime. Just relax and follow your child’s lead.
Toy Expert and Former Marine
Listen to Armin Brott, former US Marine and non-girly man, who is a nationally-recognized parenting expert. In his article “Guys and Dolls: Why Dads Should Play With Their Daughters” on MrDad.com, Brott offers advice to any hesitant father:
- “Having a chance to play with you, will send (your daughter) over the moon with joy.”
- “When your daughter plays with dolls she’s learning…skills that will help her throughout her life.”
- When your daughter plays dolls, she is “discovering who she is and you can guide her.”
In addition, she is learning how to sooth and care for a baby, which is one of the most important jobs that she will ever have.
Helping Your Child
Armin Brott says that research proves there are concrete benefits that result from fathers (and stepfathers) playing dolls with their girls. According to studies, these daughters:
- become more assertive, in the right way.
- become more self-sufficient.
- have better friends.
- do better in school.
- are less likely to smoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, go to prison, or become pregnant as teens.
Best Baby Dolls
If you want to send your daughter a positive message, you should consider getting her an age appropriate doll as a birthday, Christmas, or Chanukah present. And, then you should let her teach you how to play dolls. Here are award-winning baby dolls and other dolls, which are recommended by the ex-Marine and other toy experts:
Dolls for Age 0-2: Calin Doll by Corolle ($23.95) or Kitty Doll by Kids Preferred ($12.95). Remember that there are other great dolls out there, so look around for something that you like. If possible, find a doll with your daughter’s hair color.
Doll for Age 3 and Up: Adorable Kinders Rag Dolls come with a computer code, so you and your daughter can register dolly for school and play games, but don’t forget that the main reason for getting a doll is to play tea party, change dolly’s clothes, and other girly stuff.
Doll for Age 4 and Up: Nana Star Doll comes with a book about a girl in a blue princess dress. Reading this book at bedtime is an easy way to get started.
Doll for Ages 5 and Up: Karito Kids dolls represent girls from around the world. Brott likes the Piper doll, a surfer girl from Australia. Each doll comes with a book, so it’s easy to bond with your daughter while reading about Piper. You might prefer a doll “from” the USA, Kenya, China, Italy, or Mexico, depending upon your daughter’s heritage.
A dad should consider getting his own doll, as well….stay with me…and take a deep breath. If you have “your own” doll, you can let your daughter take it with her when she goes back to her mom’s house. This will help to keep your memory fresh in her mind until she sees you again.