The Tear Bottle: Making Deployment A Time of Growth for Young Children

April 11, 2009 | Categrory: events, kids and deployment, loss, making deployment a time of growth for young children, military families, military kids, parenting, resources for military families

The Tear Bottle is the creation of my friend and partner Paula Johnson. It is a special addition to our Homecoming Box and something that can be used by parents as they deal with the tears that are an expected part of deployment (and life).

Here’s how it works:

The Homecoming Box is a special box a child can use to collect symbols and tokens of things they do while their parent is deployed. These items remind and comfort. Later, things can be taken out and stories told to share with Daddy .Not only does this save some of the little milestones of life, but also is something tangible that child can do, as the family thinks of what would make the best reminder.

Here is where The Tear Bottle comes in. There will be sad times as a parent is deployed. There will be times that a child really wants the parent there. At these times, a child can pick out one of the sparkly “tears”, write a reminder of what brought those tears, and put them in the Homecoming Box. When the parent returns home, and each item is taken out of the box and the event explained, once is awhile the “tears” will come out. After the tears are talked about, they go into the Tear Bottle.

The Tear Bottle becomes a vehicle to heal, by placing the sorrows in their special place. This frees the stories of the Homecoming Box to be those happy times.

Sadness and tears are part of a child’s life. Sometimes in childhood, tears come for reasons as varied as the fact that you did not buy the right kind of Mac and Cheese, to the sorrow that Daddy missed the preschool play. You, as the parent decide what is worthy of the tear bottle. Be sensitive to a child’s point of view, the loss of a favorite teddy or doll may very well be important enough to get a “tear”. Maybe you have a day when a you need a tear for the bottle as well. Use it, change it, adapt it , to work in the ways best for your family.

(complete directions for making the Homecoming Box and the Tear Bottle with your family will soon be on our parent page as a free download)

2 Responses to “The Tear Bottle: Making Deployment A Time of Growth for Young Children”

  1. I really like your post. Does it copyright protected?

  2. Hi,
    Yes the Tear Bottle and the Homecoming Box are copyrighted. If you want to use the ideas with a group, just write us an e-mail at we can give you the guidelines and permission!