TIPS FOR INTERACTING WITH CHILDREN EXPERIENCING GRIEF

  • Consider your own personal grief history and how it influence your biases and perspectives on loss.
  • Each child’s grief is as unique to him or her as the their relationship to the deceased.
  • Don’t assume that if a child is not talking about that it hasn’t affected them.
  • Show them affection and let them know they are loved and will be taken care of.
  • Consider that children may not feel exactly the same as adults do.
  • Prepare a child for what to expect in a new situation.
  • Respect the wave-like quality of a child’s capacity to mourn.
  • Allow children to be involved in a memorial ritual.
  • Be mindful of specific dates/holidays.
  • Grieving children can handle the truth.
  • Respond to inquiries honestly and lovingly.
  • Model expressions of your own feeling and memories.
  • Allow the child time to grieve, and then more time.
  • Children feel less alone when they can be with other children who have experienced the death of a parent or sibling.
  • Offer constructive outlets for the range of emotions related to grief.
  • Tolerate some acting out IF it is not harming self or others.
  • Know that short-tern regressive behaviors are normal.
  • Access support groups.
  • Allow and encourage the search for meaningful questions.
  • Remember, IT IS OKAY TO NOT HAVE ANSWERS

Activities to Do with A Grieving Child To Open Up Their Expression:

  • Art
  • Dance
  • Read a book
  • Watch a movie
  • Go on a nature walk

 

Camps for Children:

Camp for Kids with a Parent Facing Cancer: www.campkesem.org
Camp for Grieving Children (Featured in Emmy-winning HBO documentary, One Last Hug) www.camperin.org

For more information on childhood grief visit:

www.hellogrief.org
www.childrengrieve.org