Grief and Kids: Helping Children Cope with Grief
It’s never easy to lose a loved one. Children may find it especially difficult to lose someone they care about because they are also trying to cope with the loss of others while witnessing their own loved ones’ grief. When a child loses a loved one when they are very young, they may also feel the loss several times over as they age and reach milestones without the person.
This article will offer some suggestions on how to help kids cope with the pain of losing a loved one.
How to Help a Grieving Child
You can do a few things to ease your child’s grieving process if they are experiencing it.
Offer unqualified approval
Everyone grieves differently, and there are no set guidelines for how to do it. Your child experiences the same thing.
It can be useful to reassure them that this is acceptable if they appear unaffected when all others are upset but experience a delayed reaction weeks later. Grief does not have a predetermined timeline that everyone must adhere to.
It’s typical to experience a range of emotions following a loss. Family members can occasionally become irritable with one another or feel overextended.
If you express your feelings openly, it’s usually easier to get through difficult times. Consider expressing your sadness or fatigue and providing an explanation. It can be beneficial to teach your child that it’s okay to experience emotions.
Spend time with them doing things they like to do, and demonstrate that it’s okay to laugh if they desire to. These interactions could serve as a reminder to your child that it’s okay to feel happy and that negative emotions don’t last forever.
Routines bring consistency
Because they are dependable and recognizable, routines give people a sense of security.
Your schedule might change a little in the days right after the loss. As soon as you can, establish a new routine to help reassure your child.
This is due to the fact that returning to your regular routine can occasionally be unsettling. Your child might think that you have forgotten the person they lost if you go back to your old routine.
Demonstrate effective coping mechanisms and self-care
Consider some concepts you want your kid to grasp, such as:
- It’s acceptable to ask for assistance.
- It’s crucial to take care of self.
- Taking breaks when necessary is healthy.
Think about acting in this manner yourself. Ask for assistance if you require it and state why. Going to bed earlier or taking a nap are examples of self-care. A nice meal or going for a walk are also examples of self-care.
Your child may benefit from seeing you practice self-care so they can pick up healthy coping mechanisms.
Establish rites of remembrance
By paying ongoing homage to the animal or person you and your kid have lost, you may be able to keep up a sense of closeness.
Your child and you can stay in touch with the person you have lost by doing any of the following:
- talking about them frequently as a family
- doing a special thing on the anniversary of their death
- celebrating their birthday every year
- lighting a candle in their honor each evening
- compiling a scrapbook of memories
- reading a poem in their honor each day, week, or month.
Get professional help
Loss is an exceptional circumstance that occasionally calls for professional assistance. Children and adolescents who receive treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can learn to control their emotions.
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