Children worry – they might have monster dreams, maybe they’re worried about starting school or moving home or perhaps one of their friends is being mean to them? And from the serious to the more trivial…
My four-year-old’s biggest worry is something we have shortened to FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out; this translates as: fear that she will not get cake at the birthday party, fear that I will play her favourite song when she is not in the room, fear that I will start the movie without her etcetera etcetera, Her second biggest worry is that her younger sister is using her stuff – playing with her princess dolls, wearing her clothes, using her lip-ice… and more etceteras.
The cause is different for each child but the worry itself is the same.
If your child is not coping with the worry, you might want to check out a brilliant new cuddly toy on the market called Sorgenfresser – after Gerhard Hahn’s German TV series – but better known as the ‘Worry Eater’ to the international audience.
The plush toys are cuddly, zany looking creatures with zips for mouths; the idea is that children can write or draw their troubles on a paper (secretly if they prefer) and feed them into the zip mouth of the Worry Eater. And when it comes to bad dreams, the Worry-eater dolls will keep an eye out for night time nasties in a sleeping child’s room – if they see a bad dream they open their zippered mouth and gobble them up!
Now a plush toy gobbling up a worry or fear is not necessarily a quick-fix solution to the problem but there is something unburdening about sharing a concern (a problem shared is a problem halved, right) – the process of articulating the worry and then physically handing it over (to the Worry Eater) is a way for children to develop and understanding of and gain control of how their emotions. The worry is also locked up safe behind a zip, which might also provide some relief.
Feeding a worry to the Worry Eater is also a good way to stimulate a discussion between parent and child about said worry, especially if it’s a small child who has trouble translation emotions into words.
Older children might be less inclined to share, in which case mums and dads can take a sneak peek at the worry so that the root of the problem can be better understood and thus managed.
The Worry Eater is an aid to the effective management of any worry saga that your child may be going through.
There are currently 14 characters in the Sorgenfresser Worry Eater range (Saggo, Betti, Bill, Frula, Polli, Om, Eno, Schnulli, Ernst, Rumpel, Ed, Gump, Sepp and Biff).
They’re lovely and stripey, and come in a myriad of colours suitable for both boys and girls. Visit Sorgenfresser.com to check out the different characters, many of which are sold on Amazon. Large Worry Eaters (40-odd cm) cost around £25 and smaller ones (20-odd cm) are around £15.