What you need to know Read less, play more
Worrying is a natural emotion, although as parents it's sometimes hard to deal with seeing young children suffer any anxiety. These award winning Worry Eater dolls really do help children (and adults) to cope with the stress and strain of modern life by giving them somewhere to put their worries.
There are 12 Worry Eaters including Polli, Saggo & Flint
Okay, the idea is more important than the toy, and Sorgenfresser's Worry Eaters are not a panacea by any means, but they are a very sensible tool to help you manage your child's development.
Sorgenfresser Worry Eaters Review
Invented by Gerd Hahn in 2008 during a stressful time in his business, the idea behind Sorgenfresser Worry Eaters is simple: Just write or draw your anxieties onto pieces of paper and feed them into the gaping mouth of your favourite wide-eyed Sorgenfresser, then zip it shut and let them feast.
Safely sealed away things will start to feel much easier, and with a little help from family and friends these problems can be solved.
There's a German TV series (we wouldn't discount the possibility of a UK version soon) and here the inevitable soft toy range. There are 12 in all, and while they all have an insatiable appetite for worries, each 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.
Each has a zipped pocket on its front where your child can put their worries after writing them down. The first step in effective Worry Eater deployment is to explain how they work to your child. In our experience this was much easier than we might have feared! Maybe we should have taken advantage of Flint's pocket before starting... We explained that Flint worked with bad dreams, worries, scary thoughts, monsters in the cupboard, and anything else that makes us unhappy or scared.
Worry Eaters identity parade
It helps to provide some small slips of paper and some pencils, and demonstrating, although our tester (aged 5) was quite happy pretending to write stuff down on imaginary paper before pretending to zip it safely away.
Experts agree that Sorgenfresser can really help children. Liat Hughes Joshi, author of Raising Children: The Primary Years:
As well as the idea of the Sorgenfresser helping children by symbolically ‘eating’ their ideas, it’s an effective way for children to communicate anxieties. Many of us face occasions when we know something is worrying our children but they aren’t opening up and telling us what the problem is. It can happen no matter how close the parent-child relationship, and could be because a child is struggling to articulate things or perhaps is embarrassed or feels silly.
The concept is so clever, especially in the latter situation as it means a child can write their worry down in their own time, or draw it, and then pop it into its mouth.
A parent can then go and retrieve it later and could even leave a little note back reassuring or helping their son or daughter. Even if a child decides they don’t want mum and dad seeing the notes, the symbolism of having their worries taken away is still powerful.
Apart from the practical value these are also really charming and well-made soft toys. They are made to last, with quality fabrics, stitching and other materials like zips, and are machine-washable. Our Flint looks good as new after a few washes.
As we said in the intro these are not a cure-all for childhood fears and anxieties, but they are a great way for parents to help children to cope with the inevitable stresses of life, and to develop emotional coping mechanisms. Children love them, and from our testing develop a friendship bond with their Worry Eater, giving them comfort and security.