How To Help Children Deal With Grief And Loss


Nowadays, there’s plenty of literature that addresses parental grief as every day, families lose a child to an accident or a disease like pediatric cancer. However, less is said about the grief experienced by a sibling, and children can be overwhelmed at losing a beloved brother or sister. According to a study, one in five children will experience the death of someone close to them by age 18. Moreover, it was found that families lose 73,000 children every year in the U.S., and of those children, 83% have surviving siblings. When a child loses a loved one, it is important to take concrete steps towards hope and healing and to help children deal with the pain that they’re going through. Here’s how to help your child deal with grief and loss.

Be honest

Parents may think that they’re protecting their children by not being truthful, but hiding information can cause kids to lose their trust in adults. Children should be told immediately when a family member has passed away so they won’t hear it from somebody else. Give kids an honest explanation about death that they can understand, and keep in mind that no two children will react the same way.

Give affection and comfort

Children need affection and comfort during this difficult time, so be available for conversations and give lots of hugs. Reassure your child that you’re here to listen and that you’ll get through this as a family. You may also want to let your child participate in activities that will help him or her express grief in a healthy way such as an art class. Pets can be a source of comfort for any person who’s grieving so this may be a good time to introduce a furry friend to the family.


Observe your child’s behavior

Some children may not be able to express their grief with words and what happens is their feelings come out in the way they behave. If your child seems angry or prone to mood swings, is disinterested in school or any of the activities that he or she used to enjoy, or has developed sleep problems or has trouble sleeping, it may be time to get professional help to help your child cope with grief.

Losing a family member is never easy, but with love, patience, and understanding, you can help your child cope with the loss of a loved one. Be open, honest, and be generous with your affection and in time, you can get through this difficult time as a family.

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