Worry dolls (muñecas quitapenas), or trouble dolls, are very small and colorful dolls traditionally made in Guatemala. A person (usually a child) who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep. Some medical centers use them in conjunction with treatment for disease in children. According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person's place, thereby permitting the person to sleep peacefully. The person will wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night. Parents may remove the doll during the night, reinforcing the child's belief that the worry is gone. Some parents involve the child in making the dolls to further increase the psychological benefits of releasing worries, and instructions may be found online.
Because they are inexpensive and small to transport, many tourists buy the dolls.
- "Worry Dolls", h2g2, 12 April 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
- "Worry dolls, posters, masks and mandalas help kids cope with cancer", UC Davis Health System. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
- Petrillo, Valerie (2009); A Kid's Guide to Latino History: More Than 50 Activities, Chicago Review Press.
- Atanassov, Max; "Maya girl selling worry dolls", Flickr, 21 August 2003. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
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