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by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To help children to think about worry and find ways to be less anxious.

Preparation and materials

  • No preparation is necessary but an OHP will help the children to read the poem with you.

  • The song ‘Whenever I feel afraid' from the soundtrack of The King and I could be playing as the children enter the room.


  1. Say that you are going to talk about something that we all do at some time or another: worry. We often worry because we are afraid of something or someone.

  2. Introduce the poem:

    Worry is a scary thing,
    Often makes us ill.
    Reasons can be differing,
    Really causes jittering,
    Yet worrying about things doesn't get them done.

  3. Ask, what makes us worry? Invite the children to tell you some of their worries. Examples could be given if there has not been much response, such as: we might be expected to do something that we feel is beyond us; perhaps we are worried about someone who is ill; perhaps we are afraid to face up to something we have done wrong. It may be that we are being bullied. Whatever the reason, it always helps to talk to someone about it.

  4. Perhaps this story will help you to understand why worrying doesn't help.

William the worrier
William was a worrier. He worried about things from the moment he woke up, all through the day. He worried so much he gave himself tummy ache and couldn't eat properly. He worried right up until the time he went to bed, and then he worried about being alone in the dark, so he had to keep the light on. All this made his parents worry about him!

One day his Auntie Ivy came to stay. She was a wise old lady, and when she saw William she could tell that something was troubling him. She always brought him sweets and William enjoyed her visits because she was always so kind to him.

‘Look, William,' she said, ‘I've brought you some of your favourite sweets, but this time they're really special because they are called worry sweets. They are magic and will help you not to worry.' William thanked her and eagerly popped one of the sweets into his mouth.

‘Now,' said Auntie Ivy, ‘what is worrying you?'

‘Well,' said William, ‘I always seem to be late for school.'

‘That's because you don't want to get up in the morning,' said his mother, ‘so we always have to rush.'

‘Oh dear,' said Auntie Ivy, ‘we must do something about that. Before you go to bed let's try getting all the things you need ready for the next day so that in the morning you know where to find everything. Now what else is bothering you?'

‘Well,' said William, ‘I can't do some of my work at school. It's too hard.'

‘Oh dear,' said Aunty Ivy, ‘we must do something about that. Now, William, your teacher probably doesn't realize that you don't understand your work. Why don't you tell her, I'm sure she won't be cross.'

‘All right,' said William, ‘I promise I'll tell her.'

‘Now,' said Auntie Ivy, ‘what else?'

‘Well,' said William, ‘there's a boy called Brian in the playground who won't let me play with the others. He always pushes me away.'

‘Oh dear,' said Auntie Ivy, ‘we must do something about that. Do you cry when he pushes you away?'

‘Yes,' said William.

‘Well,' said Auntie Ivy, ‘when he is nasty to you the next time, don't cry. You see he probably just enjoys seeing you being upset.'

‘OK,' said William, ‘I'll try.'

William collected all the things he needed for school the night before and the next morning he found it was much quicker to get ready. Auntie Ivy offered to take him to school. ‘Now, don't forget what I've told you, William,' she said. ‘I'll be here to meet you at home time.'

William's mother worried about him all day, but Auntie Ivy reassured her that he would be all right. When home time came Auntie Ivy waited at the school gates. A happy-looking William greeted her. ‘I've had a good day,' he said.

‘Oh, I'm so glad,' said Auntie Ivy. ‘What happened?'

‘Well, I wasn't late for school, I told my teacher I didn't understand my work so she helped me, and then I got most of my sums right. She was very kind to me. I lost my tummy ache so I ate all my dinner and I didn't feel tired in the afternoon. I didn't run away and cry when Brian tried to push me away, and I think we might even become friends.'

When they arrived home William's mother was delighted by the change in him. He ate all his tea and did all his homework straight away. Later on it was time for bed. He put everything ready for the next day. Auntie Ivy read him a story. ‘Time to go to sleep,' she said. ‘But first let's say a little prayer:

‘Lord, keep us safe this night,
Secure from all our fears.
May angels guard us while we sleep,
'til morning light appears.

Then she asked, ‘How are you feeling now, William?'

‘OK, thank you, Auntie,' said William. ‘And even though I've eaten all my worry sweets I know they weren't really magic. I know that I don't really need them because it's up to me to sort things out instead of worrying about them. Worry doesn't get things done and worrying doesn't help. Good night, see you in the morning. Oh, and please put out the light.' Auntie smiled. She realized that William was growing up.

Time for reflection

Reflection :
Worry is a scary thing,
Often makes us ill.
Reasons can be differing,
Really causes jittering,
Yet worrying about things doesn't get them done.
So talk to someone who can help,
Together make a plan,
Deal with your worries one at a time,
You can, you really can.

‘Worry will not help you' (Matthew 6.27)

Prayer :
Be with us in our school today in our work and in our play.
Help us not to worry, Lord, on days when things get tough.
Show us that by facing them, that will be enough.
Worry gets us nowhere, worry doesn't pay.
Help us, Lord, to understand this lesson every day.


‘Give us hope, Lord' ( Come and Praise , 87)

Publication date: January 2005   (Vol.7 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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