If you have a child who struggles with anxiety, consider getting them a stuffed animal that will eat their worries away.
“Worry Eaters” are a modern, monster-y twist on Guatemalan worry dolls, to which children confide their worries before placing them under their pillows at night. Guatemalan worry dolls, it is said, gift sleeping children with the wisdom they need to overcome worries.
With these newer zippered-mouth versions, children (or their parents) write down or draw their worries, then stuff the paper in the Worry Eater’s mouth so it can hold on to the worries for the child.
Of course, if your child doesn’t struggle with more than the average childhood worries, a Worry Eater might simply function as another toy. On the other hand, if your child battles extensive anxiety, a Worry Eater isn’t likely to be a cure-all. Instead, think of it as one of many possible tools to help children learn to identify their concerns and cope with them in a healthy way.
Another great resource for parents of kids with anxiety is psychologist and author Karen Young, who has written extensively about anxiety for both parents and kids. This article — “Anxiety in Children: A Metaphor to Put You in Their Shoes” — is a great place to start.