Baby dolls are a child’s first introduction to parenting. After watching their superhero mum and dad feed, change, and love their babies, a child will want to do the same. This practice is a great educational experience for them and teaches them about empathy and care.
When a child gets their first interactive baby doll, it’s important they know how to care for them. Our guide tells you everything you need to know about caring for a baby doll, from choosing a name to cleaning their clothes.
First steps of caring for your doll
A baby doll is a precious gift for your children to love, take care of, and learn from. When choosing a baby doll, it’s a good idea to discuss the importance of responsibility and caretaking. You can also reflect on all the care you have given to your child. When your little one is ready, they should pick a baby doll that is right for them and appropriate for their age.
Choose a name
Just like a real baby, a child’s baby doll will need a name just right for them. Talk to your child about how you picked out their name. Did you have it picked out for years? Did you have to see their face to discover what name was just right? You could also read them a list of names inspired by what they like, such as nature-based baby names.
Dress your doll
A doll’s clothes should be as unique as their name. While particular dolls, like the Susie Interactive Doll, come with clothes, you can still get more clothing for your child to mix and match. This process helps to teach your child the importance of keeping a baby warm in the cold and cool in the heat.
Introduce them to family and friends
A child will take great pride in their little ones, so encourage them to introduce their baby to family and friends. Show them that they are able to present their baby doll just like you would introduce them to new people.
You can guide them in these social skills, which will help to build your child’s confidence and caretaking abilities.
What you can do with a baby doll
There are endless activities your little one can do with their new baby doll. They will likely enjoy hours of play while learning practical parenting and nurturing skills.
Feeding a baby is a delicate, loving art. Some dolls come with their own bottle that children can use to give them pretend milk or juice. Our Susie Interactive Doll will let your child know when she’s full or when she wants more, teaching your child how to treat the needs of others.
Their doll can even join you at the dinner table with a dolls high chair, meaning they can keep an eye on their favourite doll while they eat.
Change their nappy
All parents know the time that has gone into nappy changing. While not all dolls come with nappies or have the capability to act like a real baby, it’s still a great skill to practice.
Use a reusable diaper and make sure that it fits the doll. Your child will be able to practice how to change and remove a nappy over and over again.
Take your doll out for a walk
There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as a walk outdoors for some fresh air. When you take your child for a walk, encourage them to bring their baby doll out for some fresh air in a dolls pram.
With the right pram or pushchair, they could take a stroll down the street or in the garden, taking on a big responsibility for themselves. Our Susie interactive doll is the only interactive doll that works with our dolls prams, bringing the role-play to life like no other doll.
Get them ready for bed
Bedtime is sometimes difficult for babies and children. Help your child establish a routine for their baby close to their own bedtime. Perhaps they can give the baby doll a bottle, bathe them, and change their nappy. Teaching children about all of the work that goes into a bedtime routine may help them recognise the importance of their own bedtime routine.
How to clean a baby doll
Proper hygiene is an important skill to learn. Showing a child how to keep their baby doll clean will help them reflect on their own body and cleanliness.
Wipe the doll down
Encourage your child to clean their baby doll as gently as a real baby. A damp cloth or baby wipe works perfectly on the soft plastic hands and face. You can also use it on a fabric body without worrying about damage. As you show your child how to clean their doll, you could even teach them how to properly clean themselves.
Brushing hair is a delicate task and a key skill to learn. Teaching your children the patience that goes into this is great for their development. If your child’s doll has natural hair, use a soft-bristled brush to comb through their hair without damage. If their hair is plastic, a simple plastic toy brush can still help your child learn how to do this.
Wash and change clothing
Doing laundry is another great skill for a child to develop early. Have your child gently undress their doll and dress it in fresh, clean clothes. Your little one could add the doll’s clothes to a load of laundry and help you with the washing. When they’re clean, help your child hang the clothes out to dry.
Preventative care tips
As adults, we often look back on our old dolls and see how dirty they became after years of use. Keeping up with gentle care and cleaning routines will help your child’s doll last a lifetime.
When your child understands how to take care of a baby doll, it may last long enough for siblings, children or even grandchildren to enjoy as well.
Be gentle while playing
Children will be children, which often means things get rough. However, baby dolls aren’t like other toys kids can throw around. Teaching them to be gentle while playing, particularly with certain toys like their baby doll, will help them gain responsibility for their actions.
Keep dolls out of direct sunlight
Over time, baby dolls’ colour and design may fade. Keeping them out of direct sunlight, especially for extended periods, will help prevent fading. It’s also crucial to keep them away from heat elements and not leave them in a hot car, so they don’t become damaged.
Try not to stain them
Messes and spills are a natural part of childhood. A good lesson for your child to learn is to be conscious of where they place the baby doll so they aren’t in the path of a paint or food spill.
If a spill does get onto your child’s baby doll, it is an excellent time to teach them about stains and the best ways to get them out.
Supervise smaller children
Even the smallest children take great pride in caring for their baby dolls. By playing with dolls, younger children can develop fine motor skills and learn about being siblings, cousins, or friends. While they are learning, be sure to monitor their play. You can take this opportunity to make sure the play stays gentle and that none of the doll accessories become choking hazards.
Wrap them up when it’s cold
It’s good practice to ensure that your child’s baby doll is wrapped up in colder weather. Correctly clothing the doll shows children the importance of dressing appropriately for cold weather. Plus, it prevents damage as the plastic on some dolls can become damaged by freezing temperatures.
Keep them away from pets
Pets love toys as much as children. However, they can easily mistake a baby doll left on the floor for a toy of their own. Teach children the importance of keeping their precious things out of harm’s way by encouraging them to leave their baby doll in a safe place, perhaps in a dolls pram or crib.
Travelling with a baby doll
A baby doll is a great companion for your child when your family goes on a trip. They can learn the responsibilities of packing enough supplies, car safety, and general baby doll care.
Pack everything you need in a bag
Packing a bag for a trip is a big responsibility. You wouldn’t want to stop to feed your baby and realise there are no bottles in the bag. Age appropriately, have your child take on this bag packing responsibility. Have them pack the nappies, bottles, a changing pad, and changes of clothes into their tote bag. A checklist may be a helpful tool for them.
Put them in a doll’s car seat
A great addition to a travel experience is a doll’s own car seat. The Daisy Chain Unity 4 in 1 Dolls High Chair and Car Seat gives your child a unique, safe seat for their baby doll to travel with your family. They can practice strapping their baby in and taking care of them over a long car ride.
Find the perfect baby doll for your little one
A baby doll is a perfect gift for a child. Not only will they spend countless hours playing, but they will also be able to learn valuable lessons about raising a baby.
Consider what baby doll would be the right fit for their age group, wants, and personality. Talk with them about their preferences, and find the perfect baby doll for them. Then, show them how to take care of a baby doll just like you take care of them.
Whether you need advice on the best dolls prams for the Susie Interactive Doll or want to learn everything you need to know about interactive dolls, we’re here to help.
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