Christmas and birthday wish lists get bigger and longer with each new gizmo, gadget and battery operated toy that hits the shelves, creating headaches as parents try to sort through the choices and pick that perfect gift. Dolls are especially hard to narrow down since they are no longer limited to traditional baby dolls. They now include electronic dolls, battery operated plush toys, talking animals and interactive aliens. Not all dolls are made for girls; it’s really easy to find an array of dolls that boys will enjoy, too. Read tips below about how to choose the best one for your child.
You know your child best. When you are considering which electronic doll is best for you child, consider your child’s age, cognitive development, play style and personal interests. Some children will enjoy dolls that have more movement and loud noise, while others would prefer just enough interaction to enhance their own imagination. Here are some other features to consider.
Dolls are a staple of any childhood, but many come with accessories, so it’s important to consider your child’s age. Some dolls come with parts that are so small they become a choking hazard if a young child puts them in their mouth. Even the batteries, if they are not well secured, could be easily removed by a child and pose additional dangers and risks. Also, consider whether your child would be willing to pick up and care for a lot of small pieces, even if they are old enough to keep them out of their mouth. It is really unpleasant to step on bottles and other small, sharp accessories in the early morning hours.
It is important to understand what kind of batteries are needed, where they are located and if they are replaceable. Some battery operated dolls use simple AA alkaline batteries, so replacements are easy to find. Some electronic dolls manufactured to be compatible with rechargeable Li-ion batteries, which can be a money saver. Other electronic dolls have specialty batteries that are small and difficult to find replacements for, while others have batteries that cannot be replaced at all once their power is gone.
The types of interactive features you should look for will vary depending on the age and cognitive development of your child. Younger children are satisfied with simple dolls that have simple features, while older children need a variety of functions to keep them entertained. Find out whether the doll talks and moves based on a simple action, like pushing the doll’s stomach, or a more complex action, like a voice command. Also, be mindful of young children who may become fearful or overstimulated if a doll talks too loudly or moves too much.
Design is yet another aspect that hinges somewhat on the age of your child, but it is also a key safety concern. Consider whether there are sharp edges or hard pieces, both on the doll and among the accessories, which could potentially injure your child. Look to see where the battery compartment is located, if it is sufficiently padded within a plush doll, and if it is child-proofed. Also look to see if any switches are inconveniently placed where the child may accidentally press them and disable the doll’s interactive features, forcing the child to interrupt playtime to seek you out to fix it.
After you consider your child’s maturity, cognitive needs and play style, it should be relatively easy to pick out an electric doll that is perfectly suited for your little one. With a variety of styles at numerous price points, it should be a breeze to find one that fits your budget, as well.