Death is never easy, especially when you’re a child. We all remember the first time we experienced it-whether it was our pet or one of our parents. It’s tough to know what to say or do for someone who is grieving, and often times they will take solace in their own way. But there are a few things you can do to make it easier and a little less lonely for them.
- Remember, every child grieves in their own way and at different speeds. Some may cry nonstop for a week; others may be able to bury the pain within themselves and go through each day with little thought as to what has happened. Either way is equally okay and proper for them, so give them the time and attention they need, whether that means holding their hand as they cry, listening attentively when they want to talk, providing comfort through touch, or simply being there in silence with them.
- Acknowledge that children grieve differently than adults, and sometimes their emotions can be confusing to us. When you talk with them about the person who has died, make sure you use simple vocabulary that they can understand and explain what occurred in a way that makes sense to them. Children process information differently than adults, so you can help by being patient and listening closely when they express what they are feeling.
- After your loved one has passed, one of the most helpful things you can do for a grieving child is to create a place where they can be alone with their thoughts. This can be done by setting up a small table in their room or somewhere else where they are comfortable and have privacy. Then give them something that reminds them of your loved one. A picture, a piece of jewelry that they liked, even something as small and simple as a candle with their loved one’s scent on it. This creates a place where they can feel close to them without being under the scrutiny of family or friends.
- Finally, it is important to let them know that you are there if they need you; no matter what the circumstances, you will always be connected by love.