Grief Support Tips for Children
A child who is experiencing grief may often feel overwhelmed and alone. We share seven tips to help ease communication with a child after the death of a loved one.
1. They want to be told the truth
Answer questions as honestly as you can while keeping in mind age, maturity level, and circumstances surrounding the death.
2. They want to know that someone will always be there
They may worry that another person in their life might die and need reassurance that there will always be someone in their life who will care for them.
3. They may want to share their story and talk about the person who died
Offering an outlet to tell the story and share memories can help the healing process.
4. They mourn, play, repeat
Children use play to cope with their grief and to pause before returning to grief.
5. They may act out during intense feelings of grief
Grieving children frequently feel sad, angry, confused, or scared and might not know how to express all of these emotions, which leads to acting out.
6. Their grief is long lasting
They will miss the person who died for as long as they live and will re-process their grief as they move throughout developmental stages.
7. They want you to know every child grieves differently
Every child has their own grief journey and their own way of grieving, meaning some children might be more expressive with their grief and some may keep it all in.
What Children Have Shared from Lory's Place
“When I first moved here, my grief started to get a little bit out of control. I just couldn’t handle it and knew I needed help, and that’s when I came to Lory’s Place. I think it’s helpful to have other people around me that have experienced grief. In a situation where I’m sad, they’ve told me what to do and they’re by my side all the time. We’re all friends with each other and it’s kind of like a family.“
~ Lilly Salziger, 11 years old
We’re here to help
Lory’s Place, a grief-healing and education center, provides regularly scheduled support group sessions that allow children and adults to interact with peers who have suffered similar loss. We also offer community outreach programs, with staff education and support, as well as peer grief support in elementary, middle, and high school. All services are free of charge and open to all members of the community.
If you’re not sure what a grieving child wants, just ask them! Ask how you can help and remember to check in frequently – do they want to talk about the person who died? Perhaps they would prefer not to discuss it.
To learn more about how you can support someone in their grief journey, visit www.lorysplace.org or call (269) 983-2707
Additional tips you can use to help grieving children:
- Actively listen
- Validate their feelings
- Answer their questions
- Move at their pace
- Seek out additional resources