Dr. Toy: Toys that Nurture

Every child needs to be loved and to learn to love. The way children are treated by others determines how they will grow up to trust and love themselves and others. We notice an alarming high rate of child abuse. Every parent must take full responsibility for the way they treat their child. What better way for a child to know about love than to give them loving experiences. How the child learns to treat others is essential for healthy growth. We can help the child learn to love by selecting toys that help them to express warmth and affection. Great choices are stuffed animals and soft dolls.

Children benefit from cuddly friends to hold in many ways. They can often easily express their emotions to a soft, friendly teddy bear. They can obtain comfort and support when they feel sad. They can talk about many topics to their understanding, soft friends. Soft toys can become very important in times of stress Children can express their upsets with a soft friend and not get punished. All children need to have a soft toy to play with for as long as the toy brings comfort and is enjoyed. Soft toys are helpful for grown-ups who enjoy them. Giving a teddy bear a special hug can certainly reduce pent- up emotions.

Many great teddy bears and other stuffed animals are available. A good variety of choices exist in types, sizes, costumes and poses. For a small child be sure to obtain a washable product, with nothing on it that can possibly come loose. We need to examine all potential soft friends to be sure what the child plays with meets our criteria. Examine a potential toy for any part that might endanger the child like a loose button or tie. Look for hypo- allergenic and washable type fabrics.

Dolls should be appropriate for the child's age. For the very young child consider those that are made of easy to clean and washable materials. It should be dressed so the child will have no problem undressing and redressing it. The doll may have a variety of features now available. Most important is how the child feels about the doll. What the doll will bring to the child is a constant companionship and a great sounding board to listen to whatever the child wants to share. By observing your child you may hear the on going dialogue the child carries out with the doll while waiting for "tea to be served". As you get out the cookies and juice think about the calming effect these special soft friends bring to the child.

Dr. Toy suggests looking at the great dolls available through many different companies including Playmate's new line, Baby So Beautiful (ages 3-8.) 714- 739- 1929 which is very reasonably priced at $20. Each doll has posable body and many details. This line has a lot of value for the money.

Another doll by Toy Biz is the Gerber Hispanic American Talking Baby (for 12 months to 3, $34.99, ) 800-270-4287 . This innovative bi-lingual 14" doll teaches basic words and phrases while providing lots of play value. Dolls can be found in all price ranges and will offer a lot of fun and nurturing. Remember children need to nurture soft toys and dolls year round. Keep them clean and ready for active play.

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