Helping Children Cope with Grief
How can adults help children cope with grief? Children experience losses and grief as they grow up. COVID-19 has created a significant amount of loss and grief for children in the past year.
What does grief in children look like?
Every child’s experience is unique and there isn’t one “right” way for children to grieve. You might notice some of the following (Kidsgrief.ca):
- Physical: headaches, stomach aches, restlessness, difficulty sleeping and extreme tiredness, tight jaw, changes in appetite
- Emotional: sadness, anger, helplessness, guilt, worry or fear for their own safety, loneliness, numbness
- Cognitive: confusion, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulmess, lack of interest, uncertainty about how to act with friends, worry about forgetting someone who has died
- Behavioural: regress to earlier behaviours such as thumb sucking, seek more attention and physical affection, meltdowns and tantrums, hyperactivity, seek distraction, withdrawal and isolation, very organized or disorganized
Because of developmental differences, children at different ages can exhibit grief in different ways.
Grief in children can look different than grief in adults.
Strategies and tips for helping children cope with grief
10 Ways to Help a Grieving Child – National Alliance for Grieving Children
For Parents: Module 3: Supporting a grieving child – KidsGrief.ca
Grief & Loss – Kelty Mental Health
Helping Children Cope with Grief – Child Mind Institute
Helping Kids Grieve – Sesame Street in Communities
Top 10 Tips From Grieving Children and Teens – Lighthouse: Peer Support for Grieving Children, Youth and their Families
What Not to Say to a Grieving Child – Psychology Today
Books can help children understand their feelings and know that they are not alone. Books can be a conversation opener. Find recommended titles in the following lists:
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