Exploring the Concept of Worry Dolls

Posted by Mandy Abel on

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” ~ Swedish Proverb


Worry dolls are small hand-crafted dolls, originally from the highlands of Guatemala that date back to Mayan culture and tradition.

According to original Guatemalan legend, a worry doll can help alleviate anxious or nervous feelings, particularly for children. Children tell their worries to the dolls out loud then place them under their pillow when they go to bed at night. By morning the dolls have gifted them with the wisdom and knowledge to eliminate their worries and anxieties.


For any child that has issues with anxiety, worry dolls are a great way of helping them manage their feelings, verbalise their concerns, and process their thoughts.

While there is nothing mystical or magical at play, there is something very calming about saying your anxieties out loud and physically 'putting them away'. It gives children a sense of control over a situation and encourages them to be willing to 'let go' of their worries before going to sleep.

Additionally, worry dolls can work as a 'trustworthy listener' in parenting, therapy or education environments - acting as an agent between the child and adult. They are a great tool to get children talking; telling their worries to the doll in a way that they often can’t to another human. This helps with processing and managing anxiety.


We love our range of Acorn Babies as a beautiful tool and special friend for helping children with their anxiety and emotions, but there are all sorts of ways of making your own too! 

Simply use materials from the environment around you - and this will double as a fun craft activity and fine motor skills exercise too.

Forage some twigs or sticks from outside, and twist pieces of beautiful coloured wool or scrap material around it. You can even use a popsicle stick, a clothes peg or pipe cleaners. Children can decorate them to be as simple or as detailed as they wish; adding to their sense of ownership, imagination and creativity.


Art and imagination are two instruments which create powerful emotions in all of us, not just children. So while the doll as an object may not hold any special powers, it is an uplifting concept and a great example of how make believe and imagination can impact positively on a child's emotions.

"Feeling heard and understood allows children to release the feelings, let go and move on." Janet Lansbury

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