Coping with Loss: How to Help Children Deal with Grief - Special Contribution
Tuesday September 26, 2017
In a world of loss and life cycle transitions, it is our job to provide the physical touch, healing, and nurturing during our child’s early years and indeed throughout their young lives. Just like adults, children experience many types of loss. Whenever we pick up a newspaper or watch TV, there is always something about children somewhere who are suffering for all kinds of reasons.
In a recent study, 68% of children claimed to have experienced single events of PTE. Others had experienced more than one traumatic event in the past. Helping children deal with loss, whether it be moving or losing a family member is what they need most from us and to learn the basic lessons on how to heal the heart.
Be Responsible For Our Emotions
Our responsibility is to acknowledge our own emotions and be attentive in our responses to children. Reading books* on dealing with loss will help you gain an understanding that you are not alone as so many people feel the same emotions you do.
Provide Comfort and Listen
Every child will react differently to the same circumstances. Some may cry, some may ask questions, and others may not even react at all. It is important to understand that all these behaviours are OK. The important factor is to stay with your child and offer support. Be sure to answer their questions and listen to them express their feelings. Many children have a hard time saying what they actually feel and how to describe their emotions. Learn to talk about your own feelings as this will help kids be aware of their emotions and slowly begin to describe what they are trying to say.
Give Child a Special Role
Giving your child an active role will help them master unfamiliar emotions and handle the situation in their own way. You can invite the child to read a poem, choose a song to play or help assist you in gathering photos. Just be sure to let the kids decide if they actually want the role.
Talk About What to Expect
In the case of a sudden loss, the next changes to follow can completely change your child’s way of living. Make it an obligation to solve any worries or fears by explaining what will happen in the long run. For example: let them know who will be the one to handle tasks that once belonged to someone else. Letting children know what to expect will take away the anxiety and provide a better understanding of what is to come.
For more guidance from Lucy check out her writing here.
To order your school a copy of our Little Book of Bereavement for Schools please send us an email with your details. All royalties go to a children's hospice in Suffolk.