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Losing a Favourite Stuffed Animal

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What to do When Child Loses Their "Love Object"

Do you remember your favourite "love object" from your childhood?  You hear stories of parents trying to widdle an old blankie down to a small square by having it progressively "shrink" in the dryer, but what if your child’s love object disappears by accident prematurely?

Have a look at the email I got from Jen describing her dilemma:

My daughter will turn 3 next month. She has a toy giraffe which she was extremely dependent on. Trouble is, he was dropped out of the stroller and is now lost. It has been 5 days and she is an absolute mess. I don’t know what to do. She is melting down a lot, temper tantrums, throwing things. She never exhibits this type of behaviour.

We are searching for another similar toy, but it’s hard to find. I’ve tried to coax her to talk about him, but she doesn’t want to discuss it. She has spoken about missing him, and wishing she could find him, etc… It is breaking my heart, and therefore I’m not clamping down on her behaviour. When should I expect that she will be back to normal? Any advice on how to deal with this situation? It is tearing me up inside!

Thanks so much.


Oh that is heart wrenching isn’t it?

You have to find that fine line between being empathetic for her real sense of loss – and not tolerating her using it as a excuse to behave badly. 

We often see this with adults when they proclaim "I am just not a morning people".  They walk around being grumpy (aka rude) to us.  They expect others to accept their poor behaviour because they supposedly "aren’t morning people".  Yet we know that if they weren’t with family, they would not act this way.  They would be polite with the folks in the car pool, or to the neighbour.

So, you named it yourself: you are being lax and not dealing with her the same because of this loss. What might she be learning from this experience then?  I suggest, you trust your instincts and get on with discipline as per usual and work to help her find a new "love object", even though nothing, and I mean nothing, will replace her beloved giraffe.

I hope that is helpful.

If you have had to deal with a lost object like this, share your stories and how you coped by using the comment field below.

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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4 Responses to “Losing a Favourite Stuffed Animal”

  1. Hannah

    So my daughter has this little blue elephant that she likes because he’s small enough to fit in her backpack and she likes to take him to school (she’s in 6th grade so she doesn’t take him out of her backpack until in the car or at home) she also hasn’t takin him to school for about a week or two but then started taking him again.
    She lost him a few weeks ago and can’t find him and is starting to get worried!
    She feels comfortable and safe when he’s with her (In Her backpack) but she seems to be a little nervous and not as comfortable, protected, or confident when he’s not with her. I want to help her find him but don’t know what to do or how to find her elephant!
    Please help

    ~ Hannah

    • Ariana


  2. Kelly

    I don’t think that this will help, but I guess that you could say that the elephant had to walk home from the school because he/she needed some fresh air, and it would take a few days for him to get there. Yet i’m only 12 and I have a favorite bear that I still take almost everywhere!

  3. Spencer

    I lost my favorite little duck and cant fund him anywhere. Im getting a new one just like him but i cant just replace him it dosent seem right and i dont kbow what to do


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