Have you ever met someone and knew right from the beginning they were going to be your friend? You, and I am talking about people, in general, are drawn to a certain type of people. This is, of course, different for everyone because everyone is unique. Everyone has different likes and dislikes.
So when you are making a doll for a child, you want to keep that in mind and embrace that child's likes and dislikes, embrace their uniqueness as much as possible.
In Waldorf education, an elementary school teacher will identify a student's temperament and based on it will be able to connect with each student better. Grouping similar temperaments together will help children build a balance within their character without force. Transferring this knowledge into doll making, a doll of similar character can help guide the child trough early childhood and be a great companion.
Having said that, one should be careful and avoid labeling the child too strongly. Have an awareness of the temperament without restricting growth and room for other temperaments.
To give you a small insight to the temperaments, here are a few characteristics to each temperament, but there is more interesting information available. This is just a small insight.
The temperaments are divided into four, but one could certainly encounter a combination of two or more. This is especially true in older children or adults.
The choleric finds satisfaction in getting things done. They have a great interest in all things and long for knowledge. They are quick to action and involved in everything whole-heartedly. They accomplish a lot and are great leaders. They need clear rules and guidance. They have a great sense of fairness. They are the first to be ready and have little understanding for the slow and weak. Red is often their favorite color. Fire is their element. Their physical appearance is often short and stout. Their facial features are broad-jawed with a sharp nose and high cheekbones. Sharp, angular facial features.
They can be best reached through mutual respect and appropriate challenges that recognize their capacities.
The sanguine is a very social character. They have trouble concentrating and staying on task. They love quick changes and new ideas. They are chatty and know what is going on around them. If you want to know what happened in a particular situation, ask a sanguine. They love to skip, dance and run. Yellow is often their favorite color. Air is their element. Their physical appearance is often balanced, graceful body types and are beautiful or handsome. Oval or acorn-shaped face and head. Delicate, well-formed mouth and lips.
They can be best reached through awakening their love for a subject and admiration of people.
The phlegmatic is rather left alone than to be stirred into action. They love food and time to eat it. Without the right kind of encouragement, they will get very little done. They are cheerful and friendly, but can turn angry if pushed too hard or asked to move too much. Green is often their favorite color. Their element is water. The physical appearance is often a heavy frame, stout and well-developed. A soft round face, often dimpled, with full cheeks and small eyes.
Their interest is often awakened by experiencing others' interest in a subject.
The melancholic feels a lot of things personally. They are thinkers and can have a poetic touch. They are filled with compassion. One must sympathize deeply with them, so they can feel understood. They like to do things themselves, because of their high standards and their social awkwardness. Blue is often their favorite color. Their element is earth. Their physical appearance is often tall and thin. Squarish or rectangular head and face. Prominent cheekbones, sunken hollow cheeks common. Small eyes.
They can be best met by awakening their sympathy for others and the suffering of the world.
Why am I telling you about temperaments?
When I learned to make dolls over 30 years ago, it was my oldest sister who taught me. She also introduced me to Waldorf education and I couldn't be more thankful to her for bringing both into my life. I am a big fan of both. So when she taught me about doll making she also taught me about temperaments. I didn't first understand why this would be important, but I have learned that taking temperaments into consideration can make a big difference. So have an open mind!
Dolls can be a great teaching tool to children and to parents. Can you imagine the benefits of having your child be able to work on a "weakness" through a doll? Staying focused for a sanguine child is difficult. Imagine the child helping the doll to overcome this "flaw" and staying on task because the doll did. Or getting a phlegmatic child interested in something, because the doll shows interest. Those are just a couple examples, but the list goes on and on. Besides all those benefits, the doll will become a best friend.
Oh, and one last recommendation, don't force this development between the child and the doll, it will grow into what it is supposed to be on its own. You can help by thinking of the doll in your daily routine. Don't leave the doll lay around on the kitchen floor when everyone else is going to bed for the night.