All children have random worries and anxieties, it is a natural part of growing up. Those feelings, although natural can become a problem if your child is one who hasn’t yet learned a healthy way to deal with these emotions or has difficulty sharing their anxieties with someone they trust.
Enter the worry eaters. Created in Germany, where they are, rather wonderfully, called Sorgenfresser these terrific cuddly monsters have been a hit across Europe and now Canadian families have the chance to discover their fear fighting abilities.
The lucky owner of the Worry Eater writes or draws their problem or anxiety on a slip of paper and places it into the mouth of their new friend. Once the problem is in the mouth of the Worry Eater the family can use this as an opportunity to share the worry and work out what to do about it.
The Worry Eaters motto is ‘We eat your worries’, and sometimes with just a bit of help, this is exactly what they do.
There is a TV series in Germany and each of the 18 worry eaters has its own back-story, personality, and physical quirks. For instance:
- Flint is a pirate with a patch over one eye and was somehow washed up on your child’s bedroom carpet on his raft after a shipwreck. Excels at eating worries.
- Polli is a pink, stripey Sorgenfresser with bendy ears and likes maple syrup on her worries.
- Biff has got three ears, all the better for hearing those monsters coming and gobbling them up before they can do any harm.
We found our Worry Eater, Wanda, was a great tool for starting a discussion about anxiety in general. Letting your child know that everyone worries sometimes and that it is a natural thing to do, elevates any underlying concerns they may have about being ‘silly’ or ‘babyish’ by having fears.
Our littles were given the option of sharing a worry with us, and we could write it down, of drawing their worry and sharing it with us before feeding it to Wanda or feeding it straight to Wanda without sharing first. Both of ours wanted to share, which was great and we discussed how I myself had a fear of somebody being under my bed when I was little, just like Evey does now. I told Evey I still sometimes worry about that if I wake in the middle of the night and to stop being scared I look to reassure myself nobody is there.
Evey suggested we both draw our worry about someone under the bed and feed it to Wanda, which we did, and when Evey was asleep I made sure to take the pictures out so she could see Wanda had munched them all up overnight.
Not only are the Worry Eaters a great tool for discussing anxiety with your children, they are cuddly too and also make a quirky gift for any grown up with a sense of fun.
Where To Buy
Worry eaters are available online and cost between $20 and $30 depending on the size and style of Worry Eater you choose.
Worry Eater Awards
- Parents Magazine Best Toys 2015 List
- Parents’ Choice Foundation Recommended Seal
- Toy Insider’s Hot Holiday Toys
- Creative Child Awards Plush of the Year
- The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval
- Mom’s Choice Award – Gold
- Mr. Dad’s Seal of Approval
- NAPPA Gold Award (National Parenting Publications Awards)
- National Association of Gifted Children’s Recommended Toy Seal
- PAL Award (Play on Words recognizes products that advance language)