I once swore to a friend that i would never have a plastic baby in my house. I hated them, never played with them myself as a child and never wanted my children to have them either – too many thoughts being conjured up of broken babies with non blinking eyes staring at me i think!
As with everything else, when you have kids, things change! As my Bea grew older, i stuck to my guns with the baby thing, even when Freya was born and all my friends were telling me that i should buy a toy baby for her to play with, i refused….. and then her granny came to visit from England and a charity stop baby appeared from her hand luggage…. it was love at first sight! Thanks mostly to other charity shop purchases and a couple of birthdays passing by, we now have… wait for it….seven babies in my house! Ranging from the 2 Big Baby Annabels, one crawling Chou Chou and a few smaller pocket sized little pals, we have babies for all occasions! Oh and we have three rag dolls too which i hadn’t counted… good lord, they really are taking over! Do I magically like them? NO – i still flinch slightly when they are all lined up at the end of a busy day, staring unblinkingly at my husband and i as we watch TV form their little corner of the lounge. Do my kids love them YES! SO, i have embraced them, they come on outings and are most definitely the most played with and loved toys we have in our house, so just in case there are any fellow sceptics out there i thought i would do you a quick run down of 10 reasons we LOVE babies!
1 – Role play
From a very tender age, my real babies have declared themselves mummies of their dolls. The role play is quite frankly endless. They are all named and are taken on pretend (and real) outings, given pretend meals, taken to the pretend doctors and dentists. The imaginations run wild and whether its a short 15 minute play or a whole afternoon the girls and their friends just love taking care of their family.
2 – Caring
Of course they have their favourites so there are squabbles over who gets which baby BUT i really do see that my girls have learned to be very caring with their babies and in turn, with real ones too! Learning how to look after, cook for, feed, clothe and wash their babies really is teaching them real life lessons!
3 – Companionship
Its a joy hearing my two chattering away with each other, or on their own with their babies. Certainly where Freya is concerned i think she has learned to play by herself much quicker than her older sister did and i think a lot of the time it is because she always has a little friend with her at home – one of her babies! I worried when Bea started school that Freya would be lonely after a wonderful summer being with her big sis. What did she do the first morning we were at home without Bea – she did this! She organised all the babies, sat them up or propped them up on cushions, and she cooked them a pizza in her pretend oven and poured them all a cup of tea! She wasn’t lonely, she was having a wonderful time and all without my interaction too – not bad for a two year old!
4 – Language and communication skills
Whether it is to the friends they have over on a playmate or to their little baby dolls themselves, i am sure playing with their dolls has really helped the girls language skills, especially Freya who was a bit slower to chat than her big sister. It has certainly made me realise how much my children listen to my conversations and to double check the way i talk to them too as i hear my words repeated by them verbatum sometimes!
Its a strange one but yes, the girls have learned a lot about their bodies by playing with their dolls. Whether its because they are trying to change a pretend nappy, we are chatting about body parts and pointing to them together or… yes, i have caught them both doing quite a lot of breastfeeding! Hey, they see us doing it so want to copy!! It looks funny (especially as Freya thought the milk came from her bellybutton!) but its a good lesson to learn where milk comes from, and i think its rather lovely that they know how important breast milk is for growing babies – even if they are plastic.
6 – Fine motor skills
Even plastic babies are fiddly fidgeting things! Whether its undressing and dressing their girls or busily organising the pram, the clips and a bag jam packed full of bits their little ones need, this the of play is great for enhancing little ones fine motor skills.
8 – Large motor skills
Pushing prams, carrying their babies and tucking them into little cots etc is great practice for growing tots.
9 – They keep everyone happy!
Whether its a crazy chaotic playdate with loads of kids or just one little friend visiting, having a bundle of babies has been a lifesaver for me. There are enough to be shared around, whether the kids are older or younger or even babies themselves – everyone seems to love them and find joy in playing with them whether its on their own or together. It also never fails to make me smile when you see how much little boys love to play with a doll and a pram. Dolls aren’t just for girls!
10 – Lessons for parents
When you watch your kids play at being mummies, you can learn quite a lot about how you are as a parent! Listening to them care for, reprimand and educate their little babies is quite an eye opener! Listen to how your children talk to their children and sometimes you hear the love you pass on to them and sometimes you hear your weaknesses too.
So, throw caution to the wind, wipe all memories of big baby from toy story from your mind and go forth and enjoy!
Love Mum on the Rock x
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