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Toys for an anxious child

on June 8, 2015

Piglet winnie the pooh by bullyland toysChildhood can be an anxious time, filled with unfamiliar scenarios. Many children suffer some degree of anxiety during childhood, even from events or situations that may seem fairly benign to an adult. Examples include difficulties interacting with other children, concerns about performance in school (especially where the child believes themselves to be ‘bad’ at something), anxiety can even occur where a child’s social group is going through changes (e.g. X fell out with Y, and now your child can’t play with both at the same time).

There are a host of other issues not listed above that can contribute to a child feeling anxious, parents and teachers become well-tuned to things that upset the children in their care and can do a lot to encourage a child through their feelings of anxiety. In this process one of the key issues can often be finding some means of increasing the child’s self esteem.

We aren’t claiming that simply having the toys below will cure anxiety but they have been known to work well as props and aids for parents and other carers as they attempt to harbour feelings of self-worth and increased self-esteem within the child in their care.

This list comes in no particular order, every child is different so use your own judgement in figuring out what might work best for them:

sogen fressers worry eaters soft toySorgenfressers: These little guys (and girls) eat your worries, just write down what’s bothering you and take the Sorgenfresser to bed with you and by the next morning they’ll have eaten it all up.

We’ve had more than a few grown-up customers suggest that they wouldn’t mind one themselves to eat a wee pile of bills. However, there is a fantastic resource to be found in having access to a prop like this. The primary reasoning behind Sorgenfressers is to encourage children to open up about their worries in order to feed them to the Sorgenfresser. (You can get a similar effect using puppets, discussing the merits of puppets could probably do with its own post, but in the mean time you can see a selection of our puppets by clicking this link)

Parents and carers can either choose to make this a mutual activity or they can be the one responsible for clearing out the Sorgenfresser during the night. Either way you gain access to invaluable information about what’s troubling your child that can hopefully help you both figure out a way to deal with it.

confidence builder self esteem help with anxietyConfidence building games: Another way to help an anxious child is to encourage feelings of self-worth and confidence. Whilst performance-based confidence building games like ‘Charades for Kids‘, ‘What’s Up?’ (pictured), and ‘Whatever Next!‘ might not be for everyone, the chance that your child can see you acting like a fool (and understand that you aren’t bothered by it) could be a great step in allowing them to feel comfortable with placing themselves in a similar situation. These sorts of games are a fantastic way for children to experiment with a more expressive part of themselves, increasing self-awareness in a positive manner. At the same time a child will be enjoying the safety of participating in these kinds of activities in the comfort of their own home.

large_rory_s_story_cubes_story_telling_game_with_dice_for_6_six_years_and_upThings to relax: It can’t all be about facing problems head on, sometimes what can really help is some diversion and a change of pace. Simple activities like puzzles and non-competitive games can be an extremely soothing activity for anyone after a stressful day (this even goes for adults). It can be extremely rewarding to take a little time in the evening for non-screen-based solitary activities like jigsaw and logic-based puzzles.

There’s also something to be said for the more relaxed and less pressure-filled atmosphere that can be enjoyed with non-competitive games. One of our favourite non-competitive games is ‘Rory’s Story Cubes‘ (pictured); a simple dice-based game where you roll nine dice, which have a huge variety of pictures printed on the sides, and try to tell a story using all nine pictures. Not only is this a welcome change from traditional competitive gaming but the story-telling element provides the added benefit of family bonding and shared creativity.

This list is far from exhaustive and we aren’t claiming that these products will work for all children that suffer from occasional bouts of anxiety, every child is different and you’ll need to find what works for them. Please also note that more extreme anxiety or ‘social anxiety disorder’ can be a more serious condition and may require additional support. If you suspect that you may need more help, or if you are just concerned about the nature or ferocity of your child’s anxiety, the NHS has a great resource that will help you diagnose what’s happening and hopefully point you in the direction of any help you may need, here’s the link.

That said, we really have heard good things from customers about each of the products listed. If we’re asked for toys or games to help an anxious child these really are our ‘go to’ toys. We hope that this list has been useful and please feel free post a comment below if you’d like to ask any questions or indeed suggest additions to this list. All the best, the Fun Junction team.

You can click on the images below to be brought to each product page on our web store:

large_5830_Charades_for_kidsconfidence builder self esteem help with anxietylarge_galt_whatever_next_acting_board_game_charades_confidence_building_family_game_for_5_five_years_and_upsogen fressers worry eaters soft toylarge_rory_s_story_cubes_story_telling_game_with_dice_for_6_six_years_and_uppuppet company stand at fun junction

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