The passing of a loved one is a sad and often confusing time for many family members, particularly children. It can be hard for young children to fully grasp what’s happening when a loved one passes, and this combined with heavy emotions they may be unfamiliar with can combine to form a very difficult situation.
At Lindquist Mortuaries, our caring staff is here to assist you and your family with any and all difficult elements after the passing of a loved one, from cremation options to casket selection and much more. We can also offer tips from many years of assisting families during their grief periods – here are some basic themes to consider when trying to help children understand and cope with the death of a loved one.
For starters, especially with young children, use simple, easy words they can understand and relate to. Explain to him or her what has happened, plus what is to be expected in the coming days or weeks as a result. Be patient and plan to repeat yourself a few times in certain areas if needed.
Understand going in that children often process grief very differently from adults, and at different rates. Your child may have a number of questions, some of which would seem silly to an adult, but you should remain patient and help quell their concerns.
Wherever possible, look to infuse positivity into these conversations. Encourage your child to recall their favorite memories with the departed rather than focusing on the loss, and validate their positive memories when they verbalize them. This obviously won’t be a happy time for anyone, but finding rays of sunlight on otherwise cloudy days can benefit everyone, not only children.
For many people, allowing themselves to feel emotion can go along way within the grieving process. Children are no exception, and you should encourage them to talk about how they feel and let their emotions out if needed. Children of a certain age may be hesitant to show emotion around others, but help them feel comfortable and understand that it’s understandable and natural.
Now, it’s important not to let your child get too wrapped up in negative emotions. If you’re worried this is becoming the case, look for comforting ways to direct their attention elsewhere, whether it’s a movie, some toys or another form of entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with allowing children to take their minds off the weight of the situation as they attempt to process it.
Finally, prepare your child for the upcoming funeral service if one is being held. Explain why this service is being held and what it means to those holding it, plus why it’s important for those attending to pay final respects to the departed. Also go into important behavior and respect areas during the service itself.
For more on helping your child grieve after a death, or to learn about any of our funeral planning services, speak to the staff at Lindquist Mortuaries today.