I grew up dressing and primping my Barbie’s and baby dolls. My mom had sewn clothes for all my dolls. So, when I had girls of my own, I made clothes for their dolls too. Playing dress up with the baby dolls was part of the fun. The developmental skills learned by having and caring for dolls is priceless.
Research shows that when kids play with dolls, it teaches them about themselves and those around them. On a basic level, it teaches them fine motor skills and self-help skills by dressing and undressing the dolls. Speech and language development through pretend play. Socio-emotional skills develop through caring and nurturing for Why Kids Should Play with Baby Dolls…Yes Even Boys.
So, is it okay to give a someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia a baby doll to use therapeutically? A study in Nursing Times in 2007, found an increase in positive behaviors and decrease negative behaviors when a doll was given. They found doll therapy to be a promising and effective approach to use in the care of older adults with dementia. Of course, there are always two sides to an issue. Some people believe it is demeaning to treat loved ones like children or to see their loved one caring for a baby doll as if it’s real. A controversial conversation. Leave a comment below with your opinion
Considerations When Offering a Baby Doll
- Do not call the doll a doll.
- Provide a bassinet or small crib for the doll.
- Do not purchase a doll that cries out loud, as that could be upsetting.
- Do not force a doll on any senior. Allow them to approach and hold the doll on their own time.
- Communicate the purpose of the doll for any one else who may be providing care.
According to Alzheimers.net, using dolls therapeutically can be one way to ease the anxiety of someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Supporting that activity by adding music therapy can increases the opportunities for their brains to become engaged, which means more opportunities for the new information to become long-term memory. These types of sensory experiences can create positive emotions that they may have been previously lost.
Here is the SESSION PLAN, Dolls Through the Decades. Lots of great songs and discussion topics to encourage engagement and interaction.
Dance of the Matryoshka Dolls. Decorate your own Matryoshka Dolls.
How to Make Your Own Peg Dolls