Helping Children with Grief and Loss

Helping children through grief can be challenging—especially if you’re in the process of grieving yourself. Since coping with a loss looks different for adults and children, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

If you know a child who is coping with a loss, take the following steps to help the child mourn in healthy ways:

  • Start with you: If you’re also coping with loss, be sure to take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest; eat healthy meals; exercise; and reach out for support. Children who are grieving do better when they have a healthy adult to turn to for support.
  • Be honest: Children need to hear the truth. Discuss what happened in an age-appropriate manner, but be simple, clear and truthful. Giving them inaccurate information to try to soften the hurt will end up confusing the child and make it harder in the long run.
  • Talk it through: Listen to the child who is coping with loss. Let him or her ask questions. Try to answer these questions as well as you can, but remember that it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.”
  • Let them grieve: A big part of helping children through grief is simply to let them express their grief. They may feel a full range of emotions that includes anger, fear, sadness and frustration. Acknowledge their grief, and let them move in and out of it as they need to, perhaps acting fine in one moment and upset the next. This is normal.
  • Empathize: Share stories with the child about times when you were young and felt sad or fearful or angry. Then share how you handled these emotions and what you learned from the situations. This helps children know that what they are experiencing is normal and that they can get through it.
  • Maintain consistent boundaries: Make expectations clear, and keep your rules consistent. Children may act out when they are coping with loss, and they need to know what the boundaries are. Continue to acknowledge their grief, but teach them that they are still accountable for their behavior.
  • Get creative: Give children outlets and ways to express their grief. This might include crafts, writing, music or games. New family traditions can also be helpful. Give them tangible ways to honor the memory of their loved one, especially during the holidays.
  • Be patient: Keep in mind that grief comes in waves. Mourning doesn’t usually happen in a predictable, linear pattern. Children may have to come back to the same questions and issues repeatedly. Be patient, as they are coping with loss and are slowly growing through the process.

We are here for you

Evergreen Funeral Home, Cemetery & Cremations is committed to helping you with personalized services to meet your family’s needs. You can count on us to help you plan a personal, lasting tribute to your loved one. We’ll carefully guide you through the many decisions that must be made during this challenging time. Contact our professional, caring staff today at 919-739-0077.