One of my biggest fears as a parent is that Zane will one day have a problem or a fear and won't feel comfortable speaking to me about it. As parents, we want to protect our children, but unfortunately, we can't help them with issues that we don't know about, and this where Worry Eaters can help! As you all know, I'm always on the hunt for products that can help parents and children alike - so I was super excited to discover Worry Eaters by ÎLO 307 which are stuffed toys designed for children, that have a zipper for a mouth. The idea behind this toy is that children, with the help of their parents, can write or draw their fears and anxieties on paper and then feed them to the Worry Eaters! The Worry Eater will comfort the child and help eat its worries away. I love that this toy is cute, can be a child's best friend but can also help create a situation in which children are encouraged to communicate with their parents about their feelings!
Jennifer Ovadia, MSW, PSW, t.s. Clinical Social Worker at the West Island Therapy Centre, has worked with parents and children for over 10 years and I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to her about communication and parenting! "I believe that we need to start talking to our kids as early as possible about how they feel in order to help them name their feelings", explains Jennifer. "It's so important for them to know the difference between being mad, sad, lonely, worried etc. and it's up to us to give them that language. Talking to our children early on about their feelings can help build a foundation of trust so that they feel comfortable sharing their feelings, telling stories and including their parents in their inner world of thoughts".
I think Worry Eaters can help parents start this conversation and that they can help to turn what can be an intimidating conversation for children to have, into something that is a little more pleasant and less threatening. Worry Eaters can be easily incorporated into a routine where you sit down with your child and talk about how they're feeling and if there's anything they want to share or feed their Worry Eater. It can be as little as them feeling nervous about starting school, to something more serious like being afraid of a classmate who is bullying them.
Although Zane is a little young for this now, when I come across products that I think are great, I can't help but share them with you! The Worry Eaters come in different colors and sizes (we tried Ping!). Click here to see the rest of the Worry Eaters collection!
Do you have any techniques or recommendations on how to encourage children to feel comfortable talking about their concerns or fears? I would love to hear them in the comments below!