August 21, 2006

American Girl Dolls

Recently I was asked by a reader at what age we decided to do American Girl Dolls and why. Rather than bury it in a comment I thought I would post about it.

Rhiannon received her first American girl doll Christmas of 2005, when she was 6 years old. I originally planned to wait until she was 7 or 8 but allowed it because she was truly ready for it.

Rhiannon started reading the books awhile ago and she by the time she got her first doll she had read the entire Samantha, Kirsten, Felicity, Molly and Kit series. She had not read Addy or Kaya yet because I would not allow her to. Rhiannon loves historical fiction and these are like the Little House series and the Betsy Tacy series.

At the same time she was reading the books she had been purchased the cheaper versions of American Girl dolls (Target and Michael's brands)to see how she would take care of them and if she would really see or notice a difference between the dolls. I also discovered that Rhiannon was not experiencing peer pressure to have the more expensive doll or the desire to have it because everyone else had it but she noticed things like how much nicer the hair was and how different the dolls were but she never complained she did ask for a "real" American girl doll. I explained upfront how expensive they were and what the expectation of care would be and if she was really ready for that. We had many talks about it.

Finally just before Christmas I realized that she was ready and she really would care for them and take care of them. She received Elizabeth and Felicity as gifts from two different people and much of their wardrobe. She played with them daily and really did a good job taking care of them. She also had big horses that they could ride on. With the dolls she had a renewed interest in reading the books. She also showed quite an interest in learning all the history associated with the time periods of the dolls. She began reading the "Welcome to Felicity's World" type books and enjoyed learning all the history.

American Girl dolls and the books have been good for us in our home. There are some mature topics for sensitive kids in them though so I do not recommend them without the reservation that you make a case by case decision for your child even for each individual series or book.

We enjoy historical fiction and really get into it and learn alot from them. The dolls really are well made and the clothes are lovely. They are expensive but she has received many as gifts and they are the toy she most plays with along with her horses.

For us they are worth it but I am also willing to give more in this area because as parents we have made the decision to not have Barbie, Polly Pockets and Bratz or those types of dolls in our home. Having American girl dolls has been a good thing for Rhiannon.

As for when a child is ready that is really best left up to the parents. Some kids may be ready younger and others should wait until they are older. I suppose you need to consider why your child or you want the dolls. Hope that helps.

Tenniel

2 comments:

  1. I can't even remember how I got to your site, but I LOVE it. I am a new homeschooler this year, and your blog has given me so many great ideas I can't wait to try! Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge for us rookies. :)
    Terri

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  2. Lindsay10:53 AM

    Thank you so much for your insight. I appreciate your thoughtful parenting and get lots of ideas from your site. I'm sure I'll be asking more questions!

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