This post is written by Adelina from Home Maid Simple. Worry Eaters plush were exchanged for an honest review.
Worrying about school bullies, or never being able to read, or scared of going to sleep for fear of bad dreams – these are all real worries kids have. I always thought I’d be the type of Mom my kids would tell anything to. We’d have a great relationship, and they’d be happy. I never expected to have kids with high anxiety.
Now I’m not saying we don’t have a good relationship, but when anxiety sets in, we’re in a different ball game. I knew my oldest was especially struggling. I hoped it was just a phase that maybe all kids went through, but it never ended, and I had no idea how to help.
She internalized things, and the more I would ask her to share with me, the less she talked to anyone and pulled into herself. As a mother, I think there’s not much worse than seeing your child hurting and not being able to help. When I heard about the Worry Eaters, I thought maybe just maybe this is what would help.
Say Hello to Polli and Pomm, the Worry Eaters. These cute little plush monsters have a zippered mouth perfect for hiding away worries. Kids can write down anything that is bothering them and let the Worry Eater munch on it. See with anxiety, I believe we all tend to spend too much time in our own heads. Most people can compartmentalize those thoughts, but kids need to learn how to do that. When they struggle with it, being able to give the worries away truly helps.
It soon became apparent that another daughter was also dealing with fears, but unable to tell me what they were. We spent weeks waking up with a “tummy ache” and no desire to go to school. I gave mental health days and often sent her to school anyways. We finally found the cause of her anxiety, and with a simple change in routine, she didn’t have a single tummy ache the rest of the year. Getting her to share the worry with me, though, was what took so long. With a Worry Eater, she no longer has to hold it inside.
With both my girls, I have seen a significant change in their attitudes and especially their return to a more joyful childhood. Was it an overnight change? Absolutely not. It has taken time, and they are still the same little people with the same worries they had before. The different is now they have something that doesn’t talk back, and just takes their worries.
These are just a few tips I’ve learned over the years, of raising a child with anxiety.
- Create Stability. A daily routine and structure are important, especially if you move a lot as we have.
- Listen. Really listen to your kids. You can often pick up on things they aren’t saying, by listening to what they are.
- Be Patient. If your child is struggling to talk to you, let them know it’s OK. Don’t force communication or you’ll hinder it more. Just remind them that you’re always there when they are ready.
- Spend 1 on 1 time with your child. This becomes more important the more children you have. Kids with high anxiety can feel lost in the commotion of siblings.
- Never take things they say lightly, or as “no big deal”. To your child, that spilled cup of water is a big deal, because to them it may mean getting in trouble, or being blamed for an accident, or or or…
- Give them a safe place, and something of their very own. This year we bought/made a desk for each of our children. A place that when they want to be alone, they can go to. Along with the Worry Eaters, this space has been a safe haven for thoughts to be figured out.