Helping Children Cope with Death

December 2, 2020 5:42 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Everyone shows their grief in different ways after the death of a loved one. For children, who have often never experienced such a loss before, an experience with a death of a loved one can be especially traumatic. Parents may find it difficult to know how to broach the issue and help their children work through their emotions.

With this in mind, here are some tips for how to talk to children about death in Chicago, IL:

  • Be as simple and clear as possible: Be simple and direct when talking to children about death—don’t dance around the issue, or it will be harder for them to understand. Using clear language like “grandpa died this morning” is the best way for you to approach the situation. Then give your child a moment to take in the meaning of those words.
  • Encourage your child to share their emotions: For children, discussing what they’re feeling is the best way for them to work through their emotions. To encourage them to open up, you can talk about your own feelings first. Be upfront and honest about your sadness, and how much you loved the person you lost. Then be prepared to listen and comfort when your child speaks. Some children will be very distraught. Others will have a lot of questions. Still others might not even noticeably react at all. All of these responses are completely normal and okay. What’s most important is that you stay with your child, answer their questions, give them some reassurance and just spend some time with them to comfort them.
  • Give your child an overview of what happens next: You’re going to need to figure out what your day-to-day life looks like for the next few days while you deal with everything that comes after the death of a loved one. For example, this might mean changing up transportation or childcare arrangements. Be open and upfront with your child about these issues. Tell them what they can expect, including who will be picking them up after school, or if they will be spending a couple days with another loved one.
  • Talk about the funeral: Children should be allowed to participate in funerals, memorials and other such services. Make sure you spend some time in advance of the event talking with your child about what they can expect at these gatherings. Tell them there will be lots of people there, what the memorial will look like (songs, prayers, stories, etc.) and the kinds of things people are likely to say to them, including “I’m sorry for your loss.” Teach them about polite things to say at funerals, and forewarn them that some people will be very emotional. The fewer surprises they have at the funeral, the smoother it will go from the child’s perspective.
  • Allow your child to share memories: Getting the child involved in sharing stories or memories or emotions can help them to better process the loss. Don’t avoid mentioning the person who died—you’ll find sharing happy memories will help them deal with their grief.

For more information about helping children cope with death, contact Marik-Baken Funeral Services Ltd. in Chicago, IL.

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