Children are inquisitive by nature and learn about life by asking questions. When they ask questions about a death, it’s usually a sign that they’re curious about something they don’t understand. As an adult, a couple of the most important things you can do for children is to let them know that all questions are okay to ask, and to answer questions truthfully. When faced with this often difficult discussion, here are a few suggestions to help make this experience a positive one:
>Answer the questions they ask-even the difficult ones
>Give the child choices whenever possible. Maybe the child can write a poem, draw a picture, or choose a flower to help memorialize the loved one who passed
>Talk about and remember the person or pet that died
>Respect differences in grieving style. Some people may want to keep their grief private while other may want to talk about how they feel.
>Listen without judgement
>Hold a memorial service and allow a time for saying goodbye
>Take a break-children need time to set aside their grief. It is okay for children to run and laugh and play.
The most important thing you can do for a child when they have lost someone close is to be there for them. Be their support system. Talk to them about death and help them to find the balance during this transition while cherishing the loving memories they have. Care for the child and yourself and, when you need to, rely on professionals and friends and family to help.