Communication is key when dealing with children and their periods of grief.
Communication is key when dealing with children and their periods of grief. Katie Hall

How to help children cope after the loss of a loved one

GRIEF is never an easy emotion to navigate.

After the loss of a loved one, like adults, children and adolescents feel this unwanted yet unavoidable pain.

According to Beyond Blue a child's understanding of death will depend on their age, verbal ability and cognitive development.

We have complied a list of five important factors to consider when your child is dealing with a period of grief.

Tell the truth and be honest

Communication is key.

There's nothing worse then finding out that something was kept a secret from you, so why would you do it to your kids?

It might be an uncomfortable conversation to start with, yet they deserve to know the truth.

Find a way to speak with them on your own terms and as the years roll on they will appreciate your honesty.

It might even strengthen the relationship with your children knowing they can trust you through hard times.

Word choice

Language.

It's a tool we all use to get a message across.

However, when used carelessly it can create the wrong vibe especially when dealing with such sensitive topics such as grief.

Think about the words you are using to describe the situation and make your communication as clear and unconfusing as possible.

Visual tools

Depending on the age of your children, picture books and videos can be a useful way to explain to them what has happened.

Handy tip - pre-read/watch your material to screen for any potential questions they might have afterwards.

Discuss the funeral (if there is one)

Attending a funeral can be a helpful place to provide closure, yet it can also be an intense experience.

Prepare your child for the funeral, but never force them to go with you.

Take care of YOU

During difficult times, it's sometimes easier to focus your pain on supporting other people.

One word - stop.

Recognise your own feelings and allow yourself the time to grieve.

Be there for your children, but also remember to look out for yourself.

South Burnett

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