Children and adults have everyday worries, but sometimes the worry can be so large that it takes control of your life. As a child life specialist, my role is to help families cope with life’s challenges through therapeutic interventions. By providing an activity to express emotions and feel validation, families will be able to cope in a healthier way.
I’m thrilled to feature the Worry Eaters today and share how they can help kids at home, school or in the hospital.
How Does It Work:
It’s as simple as write or draw your worries, feed them to your Worry Eater, zip up the mouth and let your Worry Eater carry your burdens for a bit. Because we all have worries and they are a normal part of life, the Worry Eaters are valuable to all ages. For adults it allows them to get their trouble “off their shoulders” for a time, and for kids, it is a safe way to express what is worrying them and provides their parents a tool to open conversation about their worries and how to deal with them.
Worry Eater in Action:
Gavin, my 6-year-old had the opportunity to share his worries with Flamm, the Worry Eater. He starts first grade this week and has been quite vocal about the new transition, “I hate school” or “I’m not going” are just a few things he has said. The typical response is to rescue his fears with statements of, “You are going to have so much fun” or “Don’t worry, you will meet new friends in this class”. But that isn’t helping him feel validated or offering a way for him to take control of these feelings.
So, I introduced Flamm to him and explained that he could draw or write any worry or fear that he may have and let Flamm deal with it. He openly said that he was worried about “having too much homework”. Flamm helped him draw the picture of two kids sitting at a table doing their homework. Then on his own he crumbled it up and shoved it in Flamm’s mouth.
The activity was a great way for him to feel safe expressing his feelings and offering insight for me to strategize a better homework routine when school begins.
About the Creator:
Producer, inventor, animator, and director, Gerhard Hahn has spent the last 35 years creating and producing feature films and television series in Germany with his company, Hahn Film. In 2008 Gerd Hahn had a terrible night. A client hadn’t paid a major contract, putting his family, film company and all its employees’ futures in jeopardy. At 4 a.m. Gerhard had an ah-hah! moment. Whether big or small, we all have problems and worries from time to time, young and old alike.
The next morning Gerhard called his designers and laid out his plans for a cuddly plush character where worries could be safely articulated and tucked away. The plush had to have a tough-looking exterior so that children would be assured that their worries couldn’t escape, yet it had to be charming enough to snuggle with at bedtime. The new creation also needed a mechanism for “consuming” the worries of its owner. The now infamous sideways zipper “mouth” accomplished all of these goals and gave this new product line a unique angle. The Sorgenfresser (German for Worry Eater) was born!
Where to Purchase Worry Eaters:
The Haywire Group became the exclusive North American distributor for Worry Eaters this year and they became available to U.S. and Canadian consumers in June 2015. The Worry Eaters can be purchased in neighborhood toy stores or online. The Worry Eaters come in two sizes, large for $22.99 and small for $15.99.
Therapists, counselors and child life specialists get a 20% discount on an online order. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, professional practice, address and email and we will send back the code.
Get a chance to win your own Worry Eater!
Choose one or more ways to enter:
1. Sign up for email notifications at ChildLifeMommy.com and leave a comment below.
2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy, leave a comment and tag a friend on the post.
3. Facebook: Follow Haywire Group and leave a comment about the #ChildLifeGiveaway
5. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy, Like and Tag a friend in the post.
Good Luck! Winner will be chosen 9/2/15