Having worries during childhood is natural. Whether it’s about Mummy or Daddy leaving for the day (will they ever come back?!) or monsters in the cupboard or dogs (some of them are SO BIG!) or friendships. It can be a confusing time if the child has never dealt with the situation they are in.
Worry dolls are widely used amongst parents to help with this. But is it helping?
A worry doll/teddy/stone or whatever substitute for a human it may be, could actually be detrimental to a child’s mental health because the worries they are offloading could be something that needs listening to by someone close to them.
What if the worry they are carrying is something that an adult should know about, to keep them safe? Or what if the worry they have could be solved quite simply but they are continuing to carry it unnecessarily?
What message are we sending children by asking that they tell all their worries to a doll or teddy? Do the worries truly go away? Or are we subconsciously telling our children that their worries are silly, and not of any value?
This is not to say that worry dolls shouldn‘t be used, but they should be used with caution. Be aware of your child’s worries. Check in with them regularly. Make sure they tell you the big worries and the little worries and the new worries and the old worries.
We lead such busy lives these days, it’s easy to overlook these situations but for our kids, it’s important that we always listen to them.