What is a worry doll?

Worry dolls are small handmade dolls that originated in Guatemala but are also popular throughout Mexico. The purpose of these dolls is to help children of all ages with their worries by expressing themselves out loud. It’s believed that for the worry dolls to work their magic, after the child has confessed their worries, they have to put the worry dolls under their pillow and go to sleep. In the morning all of their worries will be gone.

Even though the power of the worry dolls is a myth it is part of a huge tradition and it is a wonderful idea that can help kids by giving them someone they can talk openly to without any judgment. With the use of worry dolls, the child is able to let go of worries and anxieties that they have instead of bringing them into adulthood which is why worry dolls play a key role in modern paediatrics and child psychiatry.

Worry dolls are the best for children that worry about things or those that struggle to sleep because of an overactive mind. It is a common misconception that worry dolls are linked to voodoo or bad luck but this is not true. Worry dolls are simply a resource to help with anxiety and worry in children.

Worry dolls are usually tiny but can vary a lot. Each one is traditionally handcrafted with fabrics by the highland indigenous. Materials used to make them typically consist of twigs, wood, wire, and recycled rags from Mayan costumes. Colourful yarn is used to make the doll's head, hair, feet, hands, and other body features.

We have two different types of worry dolls for sale that come in either a box or a handmade cotton bag but if you feel like making your own they can be made with just a few craft materials. The materials that you will need are pipe cleaners or twigs, a hot glue gun, and fabric. Here is our guide on how to make your own worry dolls.

Prepare twigs - look around your garden or at a field for some small sticks. Take them inside your home and let them dry overnight then cut them into pieces. Traditionally it should be cut to about 2 inches although due to safety reasons we recommend making them bigger. Once cut you can wrap the twigs with your choice of yarn or fabric and stick them in place with the hot glue gun. Using a permanent marker you can draw features onto the worry dolls or if you want to make them look more detailed and know how to sew you can stitch some fabric to create facial features like eyes and a mouth.

The only problem with making your own worry dolls or purchasing small ones is that they pose safety concerns. Even though the intention is to take children’s worries away, due to the size they pose a risk as a choking hazard if the child was to put it in their mouth and choke. Also, homemade worry dolls may have sharp edges which is another thing to bear in mind. If you do make your own worry dolls we suggest sanding rough edges on the twigs and to ensure there are no loose parts. These dolls should be used under adult supervision and should only be given to a child aged 3 years plus.

 

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