My 5-year-old is a worrywart. I'm embarrassed to say that he takes after his mother -- if anything goes off plan or off schedule it's a cue to FREAK OUT. I've gotten better about it over time, but he hasn't learned to tricks for talking himself off the ledge of ohmygodthisdidntgoasplanned.
I have to come up with clever ways to remind him to take a chill pill and relax. Military life is full of chances for him to worry over stuff. Not only is the Army an expert at making things go nothing as you thought they would, it does unsettling things to a 5-year-old like taking away the stability of his two-parent home, and moving him away from his school, friends and consistency.
So when I got an email about a line of six children's books (and their companion stuffed animals) called the WorryWoos, I thought of military children everywhere, not just mine.
While there are a variety of books in the series addressing child emotional health (example: self image), the two that caught my eye are "Don't Feed the WorryBug," about worrying, and "The Lonely Little Monster," a story aimed at children who have trouble making new friends.
The books walk readers through a short story written in a friendly rhyme that talks about the monster's problem and then how he or she solves it. In the case of Wince, the star of "Don't Feed the WorryBug," he is presented with a lot of things to worry about - unfinished tasks, places to go, etc. All of his worrying feeds a a "WorryBug," until he has to figure out a way to deal with the giant, well-fed bug now occupying his kitchen. Working towards a solution distracts him from worry and teaches him not to let the WorryBug eat at him.
I read this book to my 5-year-old over the weekend. A few days later when he, predictably, started to worry over something not going as planned I reminded him "not to feed the worry bug." And you know what? It actually calmed him down.
I'm a big fan of tools I can use to walk my kids through complicated emotions or problems -- things that are much bigger than they are, but impacting them nonetheless. And these books are just another part of my kit.
If you like, you can also purchase a stuffed doll to go with the books. My child isn't really a stuffed-toy can kind of guy, but I could see these being useful if your child wanted something to cling to as a reminder. There's also an interactive app (which I didn't check out) for the worry book and a guide coming soon for parents and educators working with worried children.
The entire WorryWoo collection can be seen over at the WorryWoo website. Books can be purchased there for about $15 or on Amazon for just under $12. If you want both the book and the doll, you can buy them in a set here for $36.
While we were sent a few WorryWoos for review, all of the opinions above our are own.
Photos by Military.com.