How to Use a Worry Monster

A worry monster can be a useful and comforting tool for kids who are dealing with difficult emotions. In this post I’ll share how to use a worry monster and I’ll share some of the activities and resources I love to use alongside our worry monster routine.

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How to Use a Worry Monster and Free PDF Activity

What is a Worry Monster?

We all have worries, both children and adults. They are a necessary and normal part of life. Sometimes, when worries get out of hand or are irrational, they can stop us achieving our goals, dreams and living our life to the full.

A worry monster is a soft toy that is designed to help children manage their worries and anxieties. The idea is that children can either write down their worries or fears on a piece of paper or use their imaginations and then feed them to the worry monster, which will “eat” the worry and take it away.

This can be a helpful tool for children who are struggling with anxiety or stress, as it gives them a concrete way to express and release their worries. Find the worry monster I use here.

How to Use a Worry Monster with Kids

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How to Explain Worry to a Child?

Worries and anxiety can be expressed through physiological signs, such as headaches, sweating and stomach aches, or behaviours that might be difficult to manage, e.g. aggression, meltdowns, outbursts, or avoidance.

If you have a child who worries a lot it is important to help them to understand that these feelings are normal and that talking about our worries can help us to feel better.

@calmandcreate How to use a Worry Monster ⭐️ These guys are awesome! #kidswellbeing #kidsmentalhealth #worry #worrymonster #sel #copingskills #feelings #letstalk #bedtime #bedtimeroutine #tiktokshop ♬ original sound – Emma

How to Use a Worry Monster?

  1. Introduce the worry monster to your child: Explain to your child that the worry monster is a special friend that can eat their worries. Show them how to use the zipper mouth to feed their worries to the monster. I talk a bit about how I use the Worry Monster here.
  2. Encourage your child to talk about their worries: Create a safe and supportive environment where your child can share their worries with you. Ask open-ended questions and actively listen to their responses.
  3. Help your child write down their worries: Give your child a small notebook or a piece of paper where they can write down their worries. This can help them talk about their thoughts and feelings more clearly.
  4. Feed the worries to the monster: After your child has written down their worries, encourage them to “feed” the worries to the monster. This can help them feel like the worries are leaving their body and going somewhere else. I also get children to imagine their worries and role play feeding them to the monster.
  5. Reassure your child: Let your child know that it’s okay to have worries and that everyone experiences them from time to time. Remind them that they can always talk to you or the worry monster if they need help.
  6. Get Creative: Try out the Paper Bag Worry Monsters activity with your child and use this fun craft project to learn all about the worry monster. There are also lots of Worry Monster books that you can use alongside the Worry Monster to support your child.
  7. Learn More about Worries: Use the free PDF worksheet below to explore what worries are and how we express them. Learning about emotions is an important part of being able to recognise are own feelings and manage them.
Meet the Worry Monster Free PDF Worksheet

Helping Children Learn about their Worries {Free PDF Worry Monster Activity Sheet}

Understanding How Worry Looks

The Worry Monster wants to know: what does your face look like when you’re worried? Take a moment to draw it. This activity promotes self-awareness and helps you gain a deeper understanding of your worry signals.

Worry looks different for everyone. Physically is might show as a frown, a furrowed brow, a clenched jaw, or perhaps even an upset stomach. It’s important to understand how you physically express worry, as this can help you identify when you’re feeling anxious and take steps to manage it.

Identifying Your Worries

The Worry Monster wants to know: Three things make you worried. This activity not only helps identify triggers but also allows you to recognise them, reducing their power over you.

What are the things that make you feel worried? These could be anything from school work, to friendships, to things going on in the world that are out of our control.

Expressing Your Worries

The Worry Monster wants to know: Three ways in which you express your worries. This exercise helps us to understand our behaviour when we’re worried and can help develop healthier coping strategies.

Do you tend to withdraw from others? Perhaps you get irritable, or maybe you lose your appetite.

Sharing Your Worries Makes Them Smaller

Once you’ve learned what makes you feel worried and how you express these worries, you’ve taken a big step towards managing your worries.

It’s crucial to remember that sharing our worries can make them feel smaller. By talking about them, we take away some of their power and it makes those feelings more manageable.

So don’t keep your worries to yourself; share them with your Worry Monster and a trusted adult. Remember, you’re not alone in your worries, and there’s always help available.

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Helping my child with worries and anxiety

3 Alternatives to a Worry Monster

Here are 3 alternative ideas to a Worry Monster for children.

1 – A Worry Jar

A Worry Jar is a jar filled with small pieces of paper where children can write down their worries and fears. They can then put the paper in the jar and “let go” of the worry for the time being.

This can be a great exercise in mindfulness and can help children feel more in control of their thoughts and emotions.

2 – A Worry Box

A Worry Box is similar to a worry jar, but instead of small pieces of paper, children can write their worries on index cards and place them in a small box. Like the worry jar, this can help children feel more in control of their thoughts and emotions.

3 – A Worry Doll

A worry doll is a small handmade doll, originally from Guatemala. It is believed that if you tell your worries and fears to the doll before going to bed, the doll will take away your worries while you sleep.

The tradition of worry dolls dates back to Mayan culture and has been passed down through generations. The dolls are traditionally made of wood, wire, and colourful fabric and are only a few centimetres tall.

They are often given to children to help ease their anxiety and worries. Nowadays, worry dolls are often used as a form of stress relief and can be found in various shapes and sizes.

I hope this activity is helpful in supporting your child to learn about and share their worries. We love our worry monster and he’s been part of our bedtime routine for many years now. Take Care Emma x

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