Military life can be difficult for small children, especially with the prolonged absences of their service parent due to trainings and deployments. One North Carolina company has come up with a product to help ease these transitions a little.
Tricia Dyal started Daddy Dolls 15 years ago with a friend, in order to get Hug-a-Hero dolls into the hands of children whose parents were deployed.
She was inspired to create these after her aunt made a special daddy doll for her daughter during a deployment.
Affectionately called “Daddy dolls”, each doll features a photo of the child’s hero on one side with a complementary fabric of choice on the other. There’s also an option to make a two sided doll with the right photos for each side.
From Tricia and Nikkie, the founders:
After seeing the amazing response from our own children, we realized that there were many children out there, not just military, that could use a doll of that special someone that was far away. Our children not only play with their Daddy Dolls, but also rely on them for strength during trying times like doctor’s visits or when they need an “owie” kissed. Sometimes only that distant loved one will do! They have also become a part of story time and grocery shopping.
Parents can order their dolls right on the website, with a construction time of 1-3 weeks for custom orders.
Daddy Dolls even shares how to find the perfect photo to have put on the doll and will edit out backgrounds to clean up the images.
Non-military families can order as well for long distance relatives, as well as sponsoring a doll for a military child.
For kids, being able to take mom or dad along with them while their parent is deployed or in training is a huge source of comfort and helps relieve a little bit of the anxiety that comes with not seeing their parents for 9 months or more.
For more information on how to a get free hug-a-hero doll or how to sponsor one for a child, you can visit their website here.