Death is a grim subject for everyone, especially for young children. When they lose someone they are close to--a parent, a sibling or cousin, a grandparent or a friend--it can be an overwhelming experience for them. For some, they do not even fully grasp the meaning of death, and this makes it much harder to deal with the sudden absence.
Here are some useful tips to help any child cope with the loss of a loved one and ease their experience:
Be honest and clear, using simple words
Kids do not lack the intelligence to understand when something is wrong. If you are dishonest or withhold information, it will only result in them losing their trust in you, and becoming more confused. Use clear, simple words to communicate the news to them. The amount of details that should be shared with them depends on their personality and age.
Encourage them to express how they feel
Different kids react differently to the news of the death of a loved one. What matters is that they are able to express how they feel in such distressing times. Encourage them to ask questions, no matter how silly they may seem. Allow them to express their feelings. This will give you a better understanding of how well they are coping and what needs to be done to help them further.
Accept and validate their feelings
Once they share their feelings with you, you have to be accepting of those feelings. Tell them that you understand how they are feeling, and why they feel that way. This will make them feel like what they are experiencing is valid, and show them it is okay to grieve.
Share how you feel also
If a kid is hesitant to open up, share your own feelings to make them feel more comfortable. Tell them how you feel in a clear, constructive manner so that they, too, can do the same.
Thanks for reading,