The loss of a loved one can be devastating at any age, but it’s often particularly difficult for young children to get their head around. Children’s first experience with death is often confusing and upsetting and it’s natural for parents to want to protect their child from these difficult emotions.
We all cope with grief differently and each child’s experience will be unique to them. They might also handle things differently depending on their age, but there are some general guidelines which can help you and your family navigate this difficult time. If you’ve recently lost a loved one and are worried about how your children will cope, read on for our brief guide.
Encourage children to express themselves
The death of someone close to you is painful for the whole family, but it’s important to be open about your feelings and encourage children to do the same. Reassure them that it’s ok to feel sad, angry or confused about what’s happened and set aside time to discuss your feelings together.
It can also help to reminisce about the person who’s passed away together, by talking, looking at photographs or telling stories. If children are struggling to express themselves verbally, they might feel more comfortable drawing or writing things down.
Don’t use euphemisms
It can be tempting to try and shield children from the realities of death by using euphemisms like ‘passed on’ or ‘gone to sleep’. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to protect children but younger children can be very literal and these types of euphemisms can upset and confuse them further. Be as direct and honest as you can about what happened using age appropriate language.
Maintain as much routine as possible
It can be very difficult to uphold routines if you’re in the midst of grieving or planning a funeral, but try to stick to the ‘normal’ routine as much as you can. Regular bedtimes, mealtimes and bathtimes help children feel more secure, especially if they’re still reeling from the loss. Don’t forget to maintain a routine for yourself too; see friends, eat regular meals and make time for selfcare.
If you’ve recently lost a loved one and need help planning the funeral, get in touch with the professionals at Stockman & Loram. We’re proud to offer a range of compassionate, family-run funeral services and are on hand to help you every step of the way, from choosing a coffin to arranging a pre-paid funeral plan. Our funeral directors are available to sit down with you and discuss any requirements beforehand to ensure you’re 100% satisfied, so give us a call today or visit our website to find out more.