The worry monster who eats your troubles away

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This is basically a variation of a worry box to help children tangibly notice thoughts and worries and choose to let them go.
1) I use empty tissue boxes to make the monster but any box would work as long as you can cut out a mouth. Create the monster using paper, eyes, feathers, pipe cleaners etc. You could also make an animal, shark or whatever else may be more engaging for the child instead of a monster.
2) Talk about worries or “thinking” with the child and have them identify some worries, thoughts, frustrations, etc. that they would like to not think of in that moment.
3) Have the child write or draw the worries on pieces of paper and notice the worry or thought. It’s also helpful to let the child know they can simply notice their thought without judging or labeling it (more mindfulness based than CBT). After they have noticed and written down the worry or thought, they can choose to let it go by feeding it to the monster! I also help children see they can pretend to take thoughts out of their head and throw them into the box for when they don’t have paper. This can be fun to act out too. 🙂

A variation of this for children who struggle expressing anger safely is for them to write down things that make them angry that they would like to let go of. This can help in identifying triggers and expressing anger in safer ways, simply by writing or drawing about it.

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9 comments

  1. I’m currently in my last year of psychology and doing my internship at a residential setting in Belgium with children and adolescents between 10 and 21 years with behavioral and emotional problems (+ intellectual disability). Currently I’m working with a boy who has severe anger problems. The worry monster really seems like a good idea to use in our sessions! I was thinking about making him 2 ‘monsters’. One where he can put in thoughts or feelings that he wants to get rid of + learn what his triggers are and one ‘monster’ which provides him with some cards. On those cards I’d write tips that could help him relax (like breathing exercises) or things he can do in situations where he is mad and could lose control (like go on a time- out). What is your opinion on this?

    Thanks for the idea btw!

    • Hey Sharon! Sounds like you do great work! Congratulations on being in your last year of your studies. 🙂
      I like your idea! If you think your kiddo will struggle keeping track of two monsters, you could have the monster holding a tiny box or envelop full of cards with safe ways to cope with and express feelings and needs. Or maybe a two headed monster! Ha
      Best of luck to you! Keep in touch!

      • Thanks for replying! I think having a little box that the monster is holding will be more efficient indeed! 🙂 I’ll keep you posted when I introduce the monster and how he will use it!

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