So what is the best age to have a rag doll?
This is a really difficult question to answer, as there is no one set answer. It really comes down to your child. Every child is different so I guess understanding the development stages of a child might help us decide.
So I'll do my best to give some insight to help you decide if and what dolls are suitable for your child.
How old should a child be to have their first doll?
I don't think there is a right or wrong time for a first doll. There are so many dolls on the market that you just need to decide why you want to get a doll. Is it for developmental reasons, or it could be because you remember having a doll when you were younger. So let's look at the developmental stages and see how different dolls fit in with their learning.
During the first 12 months, dolls that can interact with all of their senses are ideal, so squeaking, crinkling noises, different textures to touch and of course soft and cuddly - with smiling faces.
In years 1 & 2 children are fascinated by cause and effect. So it may not be the type of doll you buy, but how you play with the doll and the child that will help with interacting and being exposed to language. Playing 'peepo' is one classic game or singing songs like Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, where the doll can enact the song. I have also had a lot of mums tell me that their child's doll helped with potty training. So when the doll get new pants, so does the child. and when the doll needed the toilet, mummy and child went too.
When the child reaches 2-3 years they are more purposeful and are mastering the finer motor skills. They are watching the world around them and imitating the actions of people around them through pretend play. Tea sets, telephone conversations, talking to dolls, pushing them around in push chairs or prams. Its also a time when boys enjoy playing this way as much as girls, and the whole gender-stereotypical discussion comes into play - should boys play with dolls? that's a discussion for another blog post!
For the next few years there is a explosion of learning and also developing into their own little person. They are able to imagine that they are someone else or project that imagination onto their doll/s. Action figures (yes they are classed as dolls!) Barbies or similar play dolls, and dressing up games play a huge role in this development. Barbie has been instrumental in leading the market for dress-up dolls. One of the reasons she has lasted the test of time (50 years plus!) has been her ability to mirror the fashions and change over the decades.
As the children grow into their 6th and 7th years they are developing their own interests, and little characters. They like experimenting (and not just with their toys - their parents patience too!) and are aware of what the latest toy is and must have it because "everyone else does". This is the perfect time for styling dolls clothes and their hair. Dolls with removable clothes are perfect, especially if you can get other outfits, accessories and other items with which they can play with the dolls and their friends.
From the age of 8 yrs they start to acquire adult-like abilities and hobbies and may display a passion for collecting. The ability to create and design their own outfits and accessories, adding to their dolls collection can develop into a hobby. This is a great age for Stories to come to life, and books with dolls that can bring them to life are perfect for this. A Girl for all Time are beautiful dolls from various times in history. From tutor times with Matilda, to the 1940s with Clementine.
I've given you some ideas for dolls perfect for different stages. In my experience of selling dolls for the past 7 years, there is no perfect age.
So after talking to several parents (and having one shocking grandma saying her granddaughter was too old for dolls - when I asked her how old, she replied "Oh she's FIVE!") I looked into my data more closely I was very surprised to find the following: So going through all of our registered members (from our original club) .
What is the most popular age to have a doll?
DID YOU SEE THAT!!!
These are the results from over 1000 members!
I guess the answer is...
there is no perfect age!
OR too old for dolls! (thank goodness!)
Is 5 too old for a Rag Doll (or any doll)? NO!
Is 8 too old for a Rag Doll (or any doll)? DEFINITELY NOT!
Is 10 too old for a Rag Doll (or any doll)? NO - They are STILL a child!
Would you buy a cute bear for your teenage daughter? YES? SO WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?
Are Adults too old to have a doll? NO! ADULTS HAVE A DIFFERENT APPRECIATION OF DOLLS,
A few related articles:
Why it's (still) okay to sleep with your teddy
Why children become so attached to toys and comfort blankets
Why girls are naturally drawn to dolls as soon as they can crawl