The loss of a family member or loved one is difficult and sad for everyone involved. Especially for children, experiencing grief and knowing how best to cope oftentimes brings additional challenges. At Wesley Hospice, we have an experienced team who are always available to help families and young ones through their grief journey. Below, we’ve included some, as we hope, helpful advice if you are working through a child’s grief.
- Be there for them. Children sometimes experience grief differently than adults. Sometimes they are sad, sometimes they are angry, and sometimes they would rather ignore their feelings regarding their grief all together. Being understanding of their change in emotions is important. Let your child know that what they are feeling is okay and that you are there for them. This will help them know they are not alone in dealing with their, sometimes unexpected, feelings.
- Maintain your child’s routine. Children like consistency and stability and when a loved one passes away, their routines can be disrupted. Try and maintain as much regularity in a child’s daily life as possible.
- Explain the loss to them in a way they will understand. Sometimes when a loved one passes away, children experience a great deal of anxiety that they or their parents will too, soon pass away. Try and explain the death with reasoning they can understand, “Grandpa passed away because of his old age – his heart stopped working,” and reassure them that you and they, are okay.
- Make a keepsake or memory book for your children. Gather photos, letters, and other important items with your children that remind them of their loved one. Let them add drawings or paintings and do your best to give them the freedom to make the book as they’d like to. This will give them a forever keepsake of their own filled with memories.
Most importantly, let children know that the grief they are experiencing is temporary. That their loved one is watching over them and will forever be a part of their lives – maybe not physically, but spiritually.