I love telling the story of the worry doll; it never fails to make people smile. This little doll might seem a bit gimmicky to many, but I think it’s such a wonderful and powerful but simple tool for helping children deal with their anxiety and stress, helping them to let go of anything that is worrying them and allowing them to drift off to sleep more easily.

There’s so much going on in the world today, it’s not surprising that we are noticing different behaviour in our children including more worry – trouble sleeping is a sure sign of this. Children often find it difficult to communicate their worries but those little tummy aches or upsets at bedtime might be a result of those increased worries, anxiety and stress.

There are lots of different ways we can help our children build resilience and learn to better manage their emotions. One simple way is by giving them a worry doll they can incorporate into their routine – a ‘trustworthy listener’ that they can pass their troubles to at bedtime allowing them to let go of their worries and sleep more soundly.

How to introduce a worry doll to your little worrier

I only learned the story of the Worry Doll last year. I’ve since learned that many people have already been introduced to worry dolls. I think it’s a wonderful story that children would love to hear so I don’t think that introducing a child to the idea of a worry doll should be all that difficult.

One way is to buy your child a beautiful handcrafted Guatemalan worry doll as a gift and tell them the story behind the doll and how children use them.

Children have been using worry dolls for generations to help alleviate their worries and this alone can give children faith that it will also work for them.

The story goes that the princess Ixmecane was given the gift of wisdom by the sun god and could solve any problem that a person could have and that their doll represents the princess. Alternatively, you could just simply explain that by telling their worries to their worry doll before they sleep at night and placing the doll under their pillow means that the doll is looking after their worry for them while they sleep so that they don’t have to.

It’s important to let your child know that they can tell their worries to a doll repeatedly as many times as they like.

Encouraging your child to say their worries out loud at a chosen point during their bedtime routine is the best way for them to process and let go of their worries.

Anthony Browne has brought the legend to millions of homes around the world through his storybook, ‘Silly Billy‘ which tells how grandmother helps Billy overcome his anxieties by sharing his troubles with worry dolls.

After sleeping with their worry doll under their pillow, your child will be ready to face their day and in the morning they will be ready to tell their worries to their doll again the following night. It might give your child comfort by taking a doll with them in their school bag or pocket during the day so they know they can always have someone they can tell their worries to if they need it.

Our Worry Dolls

Our little worry dolls are beautifully hand-made by the Garcia Lopez family in Guatemala

Additionally, 50% of the profit is donated to The Fig Tree Children providing opportunities for disadvantaged children and youths in Sierra Leone

Generic Worry Doll

Intimate Worry Doll