Whether you’re an adult or a kiddo, worries can creep up on you and sometimes feel overwhelming. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently shared their concern for children’s mental health, citing a national emergency. If you’re wondering how to help your kids take control of their big feelings, try making your own Worry Monster Box! It’s an awesome craft to use at home or in the classroom to build healthy coping strategies.
What is a Worry Monster Box? How does it work? The Worry Monster Box is a simple craft you can make with your kids. Once you’ve created the box, anyone can use it as a physical way to help put worries aside. Encourage kids to write or draw their worries on a piece of paper and then drop them inside the worry monster’s mouth, so they don’t have to carry their stress around with them. When kids write down or draw their worries, they are naming and containing the concern, which then makes it feel more manageable. Let them decide where they keep their monster. Sometimes it's easier to let go of a worry when it's out of sight. Kids can also choose whether they want to talk about what they put in the box – they are in control of their worries!
Here’s what you need to get started:
- An empty box (tissue box)
- Pipe cleaners
- Construction or tissue paper
- Googly eyes
- Pom-pom balls
- Glue or tape
How to create your own Worry Monster Box:
- Start with your empty tissue box and make sure to clear out the opening to use as your monster’s mouth!
- Wrap your tissue box in tissue paper or construction paper and tape it down to the box, like you’re wrapping a gift!
- Use the remaining pieces to decorate your monster and bring it to life! You can use ribbons as hair, cover the box in puff ball polka dots, or give it multiple googly eyes.
- Don’t forget to create some monster teeth with the construction paper so your monster can eat the worries it gets.
Quick Tip: If you don't have boxes on hand, don't stress! This craft can easily be done with paper bags, zipper pouches, or even empty water bottles!
Try a Worry Box for older kids! Instead of a monster, use any box or container that you have on hand. Encourage kids to write down their worries or concerns on a piece of paper and place it into the container. Tell them that you'll read their concerns and decide what to do next.
It's finished! How do you use it? There are so many ways to use your Worry Monster Box, no matter where you are! The point of this craft is to encourage your kids to reflect on their feelings when those feelings get overwhelming, so building time into their routines for reflection can help them practice being mindful of their emotions. Here are some quick ways to incorporate your Worry Monster Box into your kiddos' daily routines.
- Morning Check-Ins: Encourage your kids to reflect on their feelings in the morning and "feed" any worries they might have to their monster. Explain that if they're worried about something or they want to tell you something and prefer it to stay between the two of you, they can write it down and put it in the Worry Monster and you can read it and discuss the concern privately.
- Feelings Trackers: Pair the Worry Monster Box with the Feelings and Emotions Chart. When kids start to see their emotions change on their chart, they can stop and think about their feelings and write out anything that's overwhelming to them.
- Make another Monster: Create a friend for your Worry Monster by building a Positivity Monster! This new friend can keep track of all the things your kids are grateful for or what makes them smile. After they write down something that worries them, pull out a positive note from the Positivity Monster to help them fill that feeling with something that makes them happy.
Creating a Worry Monster Box with your kids is an opportunity to develop critical coping skills and to build mindfulness into their daily routine, no matter where they are throughout the day. Encourage kids to use the box as a tool to help cope with big feelings. Once you get comfortable with the new activity, use it as a tool to discuss what else you can do to “put the worries away” together. Remind your kids that worry is a feeling that comes and goes, and talking about it with an adult they trust can help them feel better.
Looking for other ways to help your kids identify and cope with feelings? You might also like: