Worry dolls are inexpensively ordered on the Internet, or you and your children can make your own. They may serve an anxious child very well. In fact, some hospitals use them for children who have major illnesses, much in the same manner that dream catchers are used to chase away bad dreams.
The Guatemalan traditions is to use one of six worry dolls each night. The child (or the adult) tells a worry to the doll, then puts it under her pillow for the night. If a family is large and children all have worries, they may share a bag of worry dolls so each child has his or her own. Alternately each child has their own bag of worry dolls and for six nights in row they tell a worry to one of the dolls before slipping it under their pillow.
Each doll will combat the worry overnight, hopefully providing the child with better sleep. In modern use, this is not considered a “magical” element, but more comparable to many of the myths we have for kids. It’s also a good sense way to help anxious kids voice their worries, which may help promote better sleep.
Similar to the tooth fairy, parents will remove the doll during the night, symbolizing that the worry is gone. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the child’s worry is gone, and it’s important not to minimize a child’s strong anxieties. Parents who want a child to keep dealing with anxiety might want to skip this removal process, and just let the child know the doll is taking care of the worry at night so that the child can get a good night’s sleep.
Let your child have a peaceful and restful night.