Some kids worry all the time, most kids worry some of the time. The worst time for worries tends to be the same for adults and kids: at night! Just like you, kids worry about all kids of things, such as doing well in school, making friends, fitting in, and something bad happening. They also worry when there are changes in family dynamics such as welcoming a new baby, parents arguing or getting a divorce, family member getting sick, etc.
It is difficult to disengage from worries, especially at night. Kids don’t always understand their emotions and very young children have little to no coping strategies. Often, it’s up to parents and caregivers to make sure our kids know that everyone worries and that there is a way to end worrying. One way to get your kids talking about their worries is by using a worry doll.
What is a Worry Doll?
Worry Dolls are originally tiny, hand-crafted dolls from Guatemala. The dolls are clothed in traditional Mayan costumes and stand one-half to one inch tall.
Guatemalan artisans use twigs or short lengths of wire to create a frame and wind cloth and yarn around the frame. They use scraps of traditional woven fabric to make the doll costumes and wind more yarn to create the head, hair, feet and hands.
Worry Dolls were created many generations ago as a remedy for worrying. According to the Mayan legend, when worrying keeps a person awake, he or she tells a worry to as many dolls as necessary. Then the worrier places the dolls under his or her pillow or in a wooden box under the bed. The dolls take over the worrying for the person who then sleeps peacefully through the night. When morning breaks, the person awakens without the worries that the dolls took away during the night.
Make Your Own Worry Doll
A worry doll gets your kids to (1) externalize their worries to something outside of them; and (2) helps them disengage from their worries. It’s also a really fun craft to do with preschoolers and school age kids.
You can make worry dolls using crafting materials you have at home, such a pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, close pins, yarn, markers, and stickers. You will also need a hot glue gun and scissors.
Below are some homemade worry dolls:
If your child does not like the idea of making a worry “doll”, you could also make a worry “pet” or a worry “bug” out of rocks, like the ones below:
Make this a creative literacy project. Read the book Trouble Dolls by Jimmy Buffet (Yes! THAT Jimmy Buffet) and his daughter Savannah Jane Buffet, before you do the craft. Who knew?!