This book was recommended to me when I was completing my Protective Behaviours training. If you don’t know about Protective Behaviours I highly recommend you find out more. Here’s the link to their website.
The story is about a girl who starts to worry about lots of everyday things and one day she wakes up to a huge bag of worries. The bag follows her everywhere and she can’t get rid of it. Eventually, it is so big that the girl fears she will never get rid of it and feels she will have to live with it forever. That is until a lady helps her unpack the worries. Here’s a link to a You Tube video of the book.
Who would the story benefit?
It is a perfect story for children who are feeling anxious or for when you want to discuss strategies about what to do when we have a worry, as we all do at some point. My own children have loved this book, especially with the uncertainty of COVID-19. My youngest (aged 6) asked me to read it over and over again.
It is a picture book but it could be used with older children if you ask them to think about how it could be used to support younger children. The mental heath nurse who introduced me to the book said she had used it successfully with older children.
The worries of an elf
Protective Behaviours uses 7 strategies. One of these is called One Step Removed. This is a strategy that allows people to explore their feelings and thoughts using the 3rd person so it is not personal to them. Using the Huge Bag of Worries we can use puppets or characters, in this case we used an elf and asked, ‘If the elf had a bag of worries what might be in it?’.
This led us to:
- discuss the worries an elf may have
- what would an elf’s bag of worries look like?
- make a bag: choose two leaves, cut off the ends, sew around the edges
- write the worries on small paper and then put them in the worry bag
- if the children are happy to share the worries from the bag let them do so and discuss the strategies they could use to deal with the worry. This can be done in role play with advice from the other elves/fairies.
This activity is so interesting as some children remain in character and suggest things like the elf may worry about Giants attacking them. Others related it to their own worries.
What might a worry look like?
Using natural materials ask the children to make a worry.
Yellow Door (here’s a link) have produced Emotion Stones and I think theses would be a great supporting resource to aid the discussion on feelings and emotions. You could focus on how the different emotions make you feel. What does worry feel like to you? How does your body react?
A fantastic book that opens discussions about worries and leads to some fun outdoor activities. It also enables you to think about strategies to deal with your worries such as developing your network and who could help you feel safe.
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