Children and Grief
As adults, we may struggle in trying to support grieving children, especially if we are grieving too. Caring adults can help children grieve by providing warmth, acceptance and understanding.
Here are some points to consider:
Leading up to and after a death, adults need to be open, honest and loving with children.
Try to respond to questions in an age-appropriate way.
It is a good idea to encourage but not force children to participate in a funeral or ceremony, honouring the person who has died. This is an important opportunity to say goodbye, and to be with others who can also provide and receive help, comfort and support.
Children often mourn more through their actions than their words.
Play is central to children’s mourning and healing. Watch for feelings coming out through play, and in the ways they interact with other children: how they move and what they do during pretend play.
By allowing and encouraging play, we can naturally support a grieving child where they are at in any given moment of the grieving process.