A recent study conducted by The School of Psychology’s Centre for Human Developmental Science revealed that playing with dolls independently lead to frequent talk about others’ thoughts and feelings compared to when playing on a tablet. The ‘internal state language concept’ is linked to increasing a child’s opportunity to develop social skills and can be beneficial to a child’s emotional development. Lead researcher Dr. Sarah Gerson said, “When children create imaginary worlds and role play with dolls, they communicate at first out loud and then internalize the message about others’ thoughts, emotions and feelings. This can have positive long-lasting effects on children, such as driving higher rates of social and emotional processing and building social skills like empathy that can become internalized to build and form lifelong habits.” Overall, the study found that doll play activated brain regions associated with developing empathy and social processing skills. For more information about this interesting study: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-02-doll-prompts-children-thoughts- emotions.html
Consider reducing the amount of screen time your child has per day and replace that time with playing with dolls or stuffed animals! Try expanding their play schemes to include: giving the doll a bath, changing their clothes, feeding the doll, carrying the doll, soothing a crying baby, and more!