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Sadness Over Losing a Toy

Question: My two-year old recently released a balloon into the air and got very emotional as it flew away. He has pointed to the sky and cried a couple of times each day for over a week ever since. Should I be concerned?  Is there anything I can do to help him? Thank you.

Adele Brodkin: What a touching question. Of course,I don't know for sure what your boy was feeling, but I suspect his sadness at the balloon's disappearance illustrates the strong feelings most twos have about separation, loss, and a growing awareness that they can't control the comings and goings of loved ones. I don't think you should be concerned, but it's wonderful that you are empathic. Express what he may be feeling for him: "Yes, I know you're sad that the balloon flew away; but I am here with you. And I will give you a big hug to show you how much I love you." Top that off with an offer to play a favorite game, allowing him to be in charge of the plot of pretend play. Offer him lots of choices so he can feel less powerless.  "Would you like to wear your blue shirt or the red one?" Do the same for dessert or snack selections and rejoice over his wise choices.

For more advice by Adele, check out the Between Teacher and Parent column.

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