Helping Children Understand Loss

By: Ian Elliott
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Children have a unique way to view this world and its complexities. Just because they view things differently doesn’t mean adults should underestimate their level of awareness or understanding. At Arbutus Funeral Service, we understand how difficult it can be to help children cope with loss. Here are some tips that can help:

1. Communicate Clearly

It is tempting to explain death and loss in vague terms, but that does more harm than good. Communicate about death clearly and precisely, without using terms like ‘gone away’ or ‘is one with the stars.’ Something like ‘We got some sad news today. Uncle Al died this morning.' Pause and let your child process the information and answer any questions they may have clearly. 

2. Offer Comfort

Children have different ways of reacting to grief. Some may cry and feel emotional, others may not show any emotion at all. Don’t let their reaction affect you and offer unconditional support. Just hold your child and listen carefully to what they have to say.

3. Encourage Verbal Expression of Grief

Help children express their grief verbally and show how it is affecting you as well. Tell them it is alright to feel sad, angry, confused, or lonely. Some children will hide what they feel and internalize the grief, which can lead to emotional problems later on. Encouraging verbal expression can help them deal with loss in a positive way.

4. Explain How Death Changes Things

Children want stability and feel unnerved when their routine or safety net is disrupted. You can counteract this by explaining how things will change. If an aunt used to babysit your child, you should tell them who will take over that responsibility. If a parent used to feed or read them stories, tell your child who will do those things instead.

Have any questions or want to make arrangements for funeral services? Just contact us or give us a call (604) 888-9895. We at Arbutus Funeral Service will be happy to help.

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