We have had a worry basket for my son for some time now. In that time it has been updated and changed many when needed and it sits at the top of his bookshelf in his bedroom, a place that is his own and in a location out of reach from his younger sister.
Each piece in the worry basket serves a different purpose and there are many things you could choose to include. As a whole, the basket serves as physical prompts and reminders, as a ‘toolkit’ for expressing and processing emotions.
We made ours by placing sticks and rice into a bottle. When tipped from side to side it makes a beautiful sound reminiscent of the soothing sounds of rain. This also serves as a visual mindfulness practice when children are able to focus on the movement of the rice between intricate layers of sticks.
This adorable little buddy provides a sounding board for expressing emotions. My son may talk through his worries with his as a means to release but in doing so, this normalises talking about our feelings and provides a space to practice communicating this and needs. When done so alongside a parent/teacher/carer, emotions can be externalised making it easier to process.
These can be used as a means to express to me how he is feeling. Sometimes have a visual, external tool is easier than trying to find the words. These can also be explored to discuss personal triggers, build emotion vocabularies and discuss what can be observed for each emotion in ourselves as well as others.
Sand or Glitter Bottle
There are many variations of these online, usually with the use of glitter. We made ours using sand collected from our local beach. This was simply combined with water in a glass jar. When the jar is shaken, the sand makes a swirling motion before eventually settling back to the base. This serves as a visual mindfulness practice but also provides a space to talk about what happens to our bodies in times of strong emotions. That our stomach might feel that it is swirling or we feel out of control. However, eventually the feeling always passes and we feel calm again.
Simple reminders that enhance self-beliefs and resilience. My son chose what strength cards he was drawn to and wrote one of his own, this way they are meaningful to him and thus have a greater impact.
This one may be for me than my son. We have two cards in our basket that are scripts for a mindfulness meditation or breath awareness practice. I can read these to my son and we can complete the practice together. This is most helpful when I can sense a need to instill a sense of calm, but emotions have not yet become over bearing. Another idea could be to include a small bottle of bubbles, as the act of blowing a bubble requires slow, long breaths and is a breath awareness act within itself.
My son has included a little cup full of his own treasures. I cannot provide you with any great meaning for this, just that it is meaningful to him. He included crystals, a small babushka doll, a screw.. but your child will have their own treasures that are meaningful or special to them.
If you have a worry basket set up in your home or classroom, I would love to hear about what you include. Be sure to tag @arkandluna in any photos on Instagram or contact me via email to share you ideas.