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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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14 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


      • Amelia

        Dear Ariana,
        I am a ten year old and even I cant sleep without my beloved rhino a toy I have had for over 9 years I was given it at birtj and cannot leave it behind my advice is to buy more than one because when I was two my mom thougt it was a smart idea because the company that made them was out of business so she wanted to have two, and to this day when lose one i have the other untill both are found

        • Anisha Biswas

          hey i lost my favourite duck plushy and still miss it till now. Try searching the rhino up and it may still be on sale… hope you find it

      • Reilly

        I’m 11 years old and I have a stuffed carrot. (Yes, a toy carrot) I love him so much. My mom took him away yesterday. I have been crying and not been able to sleep. I feel lonely and I don’t think my life will be the same without my carrot. I know how you feel.

      • liana

        im not telling my age but i am a kid, and my fav and oldest toy is a sheep. His name is Lamby and i have had him since i was three. When i got him he was perfect! SO fluffy and soft!!! I was with him ever since. But we got a new puppy, and dont get me wrong i love her! But she got a hold of lamby a few minutes ago. He’s not that torn up but hes pretty ripped up. He lost an eye and the other is loose. I was so mad, My puppy is in her kennel right now. Ppl who come to my house have laughed at lamby before, and said he was a baby toy. But he has been with me for almost forever, i love him and im on the verge of tears right now. I dont want a replacement, there is only one lamby. please, I need advice im really sad right now.

  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

  4. Jessica

    Just recently I lost my plush pink ladybug Lily @ my friends slumber party at her house and she’s been looking for her for about a week now & I’m getting sleep deprived because I always sleep with her and just today there was a HEAVY down pour in my & her area and now I’m worried that she was outside during it and got UTTERLY DESTROYED I don’t know what to do (I’m 13 don’t judge)

  5. Kervin

    Hi Alyson,
    This post is on a good topic, mostly people face this trouble, like other I also. My little one’s favorite Baby Elephant Stuffed Animal. He always kept that in his hands. One day, when we go out for a picnic, we carried baby elephant also. We enjoyed the picnic a lot but at evening suddenly weather goes to worse and we return to home in hurry. And we lost his baby elephant and now finding.

  6. Kai

    We live in a fairly busy street and a taxi rank and homeless shelter are about two blocks down the road, so it wasn’t uncommon to see homeless people lurking about.

    Anyhoo. I had a wonderful collection of plush animals, varying from a couple dolls to teddies to a rabbit that had previously belonged to my mother whom we affectionately called “Watson”.

    I had woken up one morning and my windowsill where they were usually kept was bare. Everyone of my dears had been stolen… I hope whoever has them now is happy.

    This incident happened when I was about 13. I’m currently 16 and have had many tearful nights as a result.

    Alas, one must learn to let go. Easier said than done…

  7. Sophia

    I lost my stuffed bear that meant a lot to me.

  8. Thomas

    My 4 year old just lost his favorite puppy at an outing with grandparents. I can replace it (Its an easy to find item) But I myself can’t help feel the loss of a friend who watched over my son for years now. It’s bizarre but its enough where I have prayed that I hope he ends up okay. Love you stuffed Baby Marshall. Thank you for the time you have given my son and my family, wherever you are.


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