Worry dolls to share our concerns with

In this article we explore how some of our kindergarten services are helping children develop tactics to cope with the anxiety they may experience through a stressful situation.

  • 31 March 2020

At Our Lady of the Rosary and Xavier kindergartens children have been creating worry dolls to share their concerns with. Sharing their concerns with their dolls is designed to help them manage any anxiety and stress they may be feeling. Their teachers initiated this experience after observing some growing anxiety and concern amongst children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Lady of The Rosary Kindergarten teacher, Ms Emma Lane explained that worry dolls are traditional to Guatemala and according to Mayan legend, ease our fears and anxieties.

“Mayan legend says that before a person goes to sleep at night, they should tell the doll all the problems that have been worrying them and tuck in under their pillow. While they sleep, the doll will take all their worries away or give them the gift of knowledge and wisdom, so upon waking, they know how to solve their worry!”

“Once the children had finished their dolls, they took them home so that each night before bed they could share and off load their worries, tuck their doll under their pillow and have a peaceful night’s sleep,” Emma said.

Both the children at Our Lady of The Rosary and Xavier kindergartens created worry dolls after reading Silly Billy, a story by Anthony Browne. Silly Billy is the story of a young boy, Billy, who has many worries that are keeping him up at night but then his grandmother told him about traditional Guatemalan worry dolls and helped him create his own.

Xavier Kindergarten teacher Ms Melissa Piggott explained that reading Silly Billy helped children understand that it is okay to worry sometimes, but it is important to get help when you do.

“We knew it was important to help the children understand that it is okay to worry sometimes, just like Billy did in the story, but that when we are worried it is important to tell someone about it, because as Billy found a problem shared is a problem halved,” Melissa said.

“In the story Billy not only shared his worries with his worry dolls but also an adult in his Grandma. While we helped the children create their worry dolls we also encouraged them to speak to an adult whenever they are feeling concerned.”

Both Emma and Melissa agreed that reading Silly Billy and having the children make their very own worry dolls has helped them understand and talk about any worries or anxieties they may be feeling. The making of the worry dolls had the added benefit of being a great opportunity to learn about and understand other cultures.

“It is important to expose children to different cultures, practices and spiritualities to build their understanding of the world and nurture a respect for people’s differences from an early aged,” Emma explained.

All Catholic Early EdCare kindergartens offer a Queensland Government approved kindergarten program for children in the year before prep. To find a kindergarten near you click here.