What my son learns when playing with dolls
November 16, 2015  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

Dolls are wonderful toys that all children (including boys) should engage with. They allow kids to understand themselves better and the world that surrounds them. However, when we see boys playing with dolls, we get all anxious. Just like Jonathan Alpert states in this interesting article published by the Huffington Post, this is very common among parents. And it has to do with fear. Fear that if they feel a desire to brush Nancy´s hair, dress a Barriguitas or take care of a Nenuco, they´ll be inclined towards homosexuality. But, rest assured, children, all children, like to play with dolls and that is perfectly normal.

Why does my son play with dolls?

Playing with dolls isn’t any different than playing with other toys. Playing with toys is a normal part of their healthy development and allows them to set their imagination and creativity free. Sleeping with dolls, feeding them or telling them how cute they are shows the child´s tender and loving side and according to Jonathan Alpert, “this should be a positive experience for parents, not something to frown down on.” Besides, your children are probably just imitating the behaviour they see at home. The way he behaves with a doll is not a sign of his sexual orientation but of his learning process.

No prejudices

Socially, we tend to separate what toys are for her and for him. And we must try to avoid these prejudices all together. Just like we mentioned in this article, stereotypes are very dangerous and we unconsciously transmit them to our children.

In the specialized magazine Parents, a woman wrote explaining how her husband doesn’t like their son playing with dolls. This is what the team of experts boldly stated: her husband assumes that his son is less masculine for choosing this toy to play with but many psychologists and therapists suggest that playing with dolls helps boys be more emphatic and loving.


Not letting them play with dolls would cause them to feel confused and sad. Toys do not determine their sexual identity. It would go a world of good for that parent to try sitting down and playing with his son and dolls.  That way the boy will understand what being a man is. Someone who is not repressed, and is capable of expressing things other than strength such as emotions and tenderness.

What does my son learn by playing with dolls?

  • Cognitive, fine motor and personal skills: Starting at 2 or 3, kids interact with dolls just like the environment interacts with them. This means that through imitation and simulation games, they can role-play at feeding, dressing, undressing, bathing, and sleeping… By doing do, kids assimilate routines and learn how to manipulate objects such as a fork, a shampoo bottle, etc. For a child, to learn how to dress and undress is a great challenge. If they learn to do it with dolls first, they´ll be on their way. Dolls are also great tolls by which to teach them to get rid of fears such as fear of water.
  • Language development: Imitation games are based on real situations. By playing with dolls, just think of all the words he will learn. From body parts, to types of clothes, verbs such as sleep, eat, drink… It’s also a great activity to improve their vocabulary and teach them basic concepts such as sizes and colours. It´s also a fabulous way to get them to answer and ask. You can start by saying: Where is the doll? What is she or he doing? What will she eat? Dolls can also help them learn how to interact with others.
  • Social-emotional skills: Playing with dolls, your son learns to care of others and express his feelings. He might be showing all the love he received as a baby or how he sees himself in this world of adults. IT can also be a way to help him recreate and process things he´s experienced. On occasion it’s his way of taking control. Remember, it’s healthy for them to make decisions and lay the rules.

 Do you agree boys should play with dolls?

Photo Credits: Shutterstock


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