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10 Helpful Ideas on How to Help a Grieving Child

When someone your child loves has died or is dying, Di McKissock O.A.M from A Friend’s Place, provides this advice.

1)  Make sure your child has access to truthful information in age-appropriate language.

2) Assure your child that no questions are taboo, and that you will find someone who can help if you don’t know the answers.

3) Include your child in family rituals – spending time with the dying person or after their death, attending funerals and wakes. Prepare them first as you would for any important new experience. Tell them what they might see, hear and feel, and talk about the experience later.

4)  Do potentially fun or distracting things after each intense experience or conversation.

5)  Encourage your child to externalise feelings through drawing, writing, play or sport.

6)  Plan simple things for your child to look forward to each day, week or month.

7)  Reassure your child that sadness won’t make anyone else sick or die – tears are natural and healthy.

8)  Reassure your child there’s no right way to grieve – we all grieve in our own way.

9)  Explain that even though people we love die, our relationship with them lives forever.

10) Share memories with your child to keep the person alive in their hearts and minds.

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