FAQ's for Talking With Your Grieving Child
How Can I Help?
* Be honest
* Answer the questions your child asks
* Encourage consistency and routines
* Talk about and remember the person who died
* Encourage your child to be active (going outside to play, taking a walk, riding bikes). This helps channel some of their energy and focus away from the recent traumatic event.
* Support your child even when he/she is in a bad mood
* Acknowledge their feelings. Let them know that it is normal to cry and feel sad.
* Remind your child that they are not alone in their grief.
* Give your child extra time and attention.
What Should I Say?
* Empathize with your child by saying, “I know it hurts.”
* Let your child know you care about them. For example, “I want you to know that I care and want to help you in any way that I can.”
* It’s okay to say “I don’t know” to questions you don’t have answers to.
* Encourage your child to think of memories he/she had with the deceased person. “(Name) was such a kind friend to you. You had so much fun playing with him/her at recess.”
What Can I Expect From my Grieving Child?
* After a death, a common fear of children is that others will die. Reassure them that they are safe and very unlikely to die soon.
* Some children have difficulty falling asleep at night. Continue any bedtime routines you already have in place. It may also be helpful to stay with your child until he/she falls asleep.
* Experiencing stomachaches, headaches, or other body pain is often a result of grief in children.
* It’s not unusual for children to experience difficulty paying attention and concentrating.Recommended Books
Brown, L. K. & M., When Dinosaurs Die: Guide to Understanding Death, Little Brown & Co., 1996
Douglas, E., Rachel and the Upside Down Heart, Price, Stern & Sloan, 1990
Vorst, J., The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, Athenaeum, 1971