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Understanding the Grieving Process in Children

Death can be challenging to grasp fully, even for adults. So one can only imagine what losing a loved one must be like for children. Whatever their experience may be, one thing to remember is that like everyone who has lost a loved one, kids will need support also.

To be able to provide them with the support they need during a difficult time, you must understand how children grieve.

Babies and toddlers 

If a parent or a caregiver has died, small babies and toddlers, while not being able to understand what is happening, definitely sense their absence. This can result in them often looking for the person who has passed, crying and throwing tantrums, or becoming quiet and less active. They may become clingy and express this through being irritable, crying, or wanting to be held. 

It is essential to accommodate babies with warmth and love during such times. Try to keep their day as normal as possible, and sometimes, providing comfort items such as special blankets or toys may help. 

Older children 

Children around the age of 4 to 12 years old often express their grief through behavioral changes, such as becoming more passive and quieter. They may act out and throw tantrums. Their eating and sleeping habits may change, and often, they may experience regression in their developmental progress. For instance, they may wet their beds, or they may start crawling again. 

It’s usually best to talk to kids openly and calmly about death so they may understand the reality of it. It is also crucial that you let them know they are safe and loved, and that you are there for them anytime. 


Teens who have lost a loved one deal with death in different ways. They understand the concept of death, and while some may handle it well, others may be profoundly affected, which is evident through changes in behavior. Usually, they seek support from close friends. They may try to hide their pain, which is why it is all the more important for them to receive support and attention.


Thanks for reading,