Tips To Support A Grieving ChildMay 24, 2023
Did you know that children have been called the “forgotten grievers”?
Depending on their age and their social/emotional development, they might struggle to fully comprehend the permanence of loss or to verbalize the complex feelings and emotions involved in grief.
Their understanding of death largely impacts the way that they grieve.
Children don't process their grief all at once. They aren't ready to and don't have the awareness. Their grief can take a lifetime.
Children's grief might get overlooked as parents or other support figures are dealing with their own.
Keep reading for some tips to support your kids’ grief as you also tend to yours!
👇🏼 Tips to Support a Grieving Child
🖤 Put your own grief first.
Just like on an airplane, you need to put your oxygen mask on first! You can’t support a grieving child if you are not supporting yourself. This means getting rest, making time for self-care, learning how to regulate your emotions, and processing your loss so that you can help your
child do the same.
🖤 Be direct.
When talking about death, try to avoid using euphemisms. Kids are extremely literal, so hearing that daddy “went to sleep” or “is resting” might create more questions and uncertainty, which drives fear.
This language might come off as abrupt or too harsh for children, but remember that they are trying to process the loss just like you are. The more honest and concrete you can be about the facts, the easier it will be for them to understand and accept the loss.
🖤 Stick to routines.
The world becomes a scary and unpredictable place when someone who we love dies. This environment can trigger anxiety, fear and anger as our body and mind respond to perceived threats. Sticking to a routine provides a sense of normalcy by creating safety, comfort and predictability.
So if your child attends school, extra curricular activities, or playdates — maintain their normal schedule. Just like adults, children are more than likely craving these types of outlets. If you are
worried that your child is too withdrawn, sad or anxious to return to the schedule, consider lessening the load and by all means trust your intuition.
You know your child best!.
🖤 Help your child express his/her feelings.
Ask your child – How are you feeling about daddy dying? Do you miss him?
Let them know that their grief is safe to talk about. If they can’t name their emotions, teach them using pictures and books, or help them notice different sensations in their body. Children’s grief is also stored in their bodies (like adults), so anxiety might present as a tummy ache, or anger might be displayed in a temper tantrum or an emotional outburst.
If verbalizing feelings isn’t working, provide other outlets for expressions such as drawing pictures, physical activities, looking at photo albums or telling stories.
The best way to help your children express their feelings, is by modeling to them that it’s ok to grieve. Having a good cry with your kids, gives them permission to do the same.
🖤 Give them closure.
You might wonder if your child should attend the memorial services / funeral or not. The rule of thumb here is to give them the option. If they want to attend, then allow them to. But if they don’t, then there is no need to force it.
You are probably trying to protect your children from these harsh realities of life, but preventing them from attending important rituals or leaving out vital information about the death often creates more questions, more uncertainty — thus more trauma around the loss.
If your child chooses not to go to the funeral or memorial, try to create another ritual or ceremony to create closure. Ideas like planting a tree, sharing stories or releasing balloons with special messages to their loved ones are great options.
🖤 Help them maintain a relationship with the deceased.
Death kills a person. It doesn’t kill a relationship. Talk about your deceased loved one! Share funny stories about them and keep their legacy alive. Teach your child how to connect with their loved one without them being physically around.
The memory of a loved one is all that we have after he/she dies. Keeping these moments alive helps fill the void of their physical absence for both you and your children.
🖤 Consult an expert.
Children’s grief is different than adult’s grief and there are professionals who can guide you on how to best support the unique needs of your child.
That’s why I’m bringing in Certified Life Specialist, published author, and Founder of Kids Grief Support Jessica Correnti for my month-long mini course Motherhood My Way. She will be running a guest workshop on children’s grief and answering your specific questions and concerns.
If you desire a space to dive deep into these concepts and apply them in real-time, I invite you to check out Motherhood My Way -- where we will be re-storing the bond with our children, our communities, the motherhood paradigm and our SELF!
We kickoff June 1st 💸 Save $222 when you enroll by TOMORROW!
I'm particularly excited for this round of the program, as Certified Child Life Specialist and Founder of Kids Grief Support Jessica Correnti will be running a bonus workshop to answer your big questions around children’s grief!
***Watch our IG LIVE here for a sneak peek at what we will be discussing! ***
Solo parenting is hard AF! I get it. I've been there too.
I'd be so honored and grateful to get real about the struggles of widowed motherhood and share my unique approach to grief & re-building your life after loss to help you experience more RELAXATION, SATISFACTION, CONNECTION and FREEDOM motherhood.
If I can do it...so can you.
Hope to see you there.
Sending love & light to you always,
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