A mum-of-three has discovered a way to ease her five-year-old daughter’s anxiety - and, unusually, it comes in the form of a monster.
Natalie Vaughan, 34, from Pontypridd, bought the toy from The Works for her daughter Mia, who she describes as “not a very confident little girl.”
She later posted photographs of the blue polka-dotted creature known as the ‘Worry Monster’ on a Facebook group designed for people to share bargains - and it’s resonated with other parents.
Explaining how the plush toy works, she wrote: “Your little one writes down their worries on paper, folds it up and pops it in the monster’s mouth.
“They zip up his mouth and he eats away the worry!”
Natalie told Yahoo Style UK: “My daughter worries that people might not like her, that her friends don’t like her clothes, whether her homework is correct - and about things like her cat running away.”
“Mia’s not a very confident little girl. Even though I tell her how beautiful she is everyday, and if someone doesn't like you it’s OK, as not every one will!”
Mia now uses her worry monster teddy twice a week to feel better, and is always excited to wake up and see it.
Natalie’s Facebook post about the monster, whose motto is 'We eat your worries', has been liked more than 3000 times, with more than 1000 comments posted at the time of writing.
One person wrote: “I'm a primary school teacher and I've had one of those in my classroom since the day I qualified. Kids love it. Some classes have taken to it more than others but they all know it's there if they need it!”
Another branded the ted ‘a brilliant idea for children who find it hard to talk.’
According to The Works, the worry monster teddy is recommended by psychologists and teachers to act as a waste bin for the fears, troubles and woes that children aren’t always keen to share with their parents.
One Facebook user commented: “Wish these were about when my children were small.”
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The toy comes in different colours and sizes and is even available as a keyring to add to book bags.
Another worry monster fan explained: “My son used to have recurring nightmares about bombs dropping (think he must have seen something on the news to trigger it).
“So I bought one of these in the hope it may help. He wrote his note about his dreams and has not had one since. Best £10 I ever spent.”
The worry monster teddy can be bought from The Works for just £8.00, where it’s received a 4.8 out of 5 star rating.
It’s also available to purchase from Amazon in different colours from £9.95.