A Glug of Oil

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Teaching Children to Cope with Grief

Grief, Loss and Death. All things that don’t come with a handbook.

And yet, when we see our children struggling to cope with the death of a family member, we wish we could help. Is there anything we can do?

children coping with grief
Image by Pexels on Pixabay

The answer is yes. But the details are varied. For example, when I was a child, around 8 years old, my Nanna died.

I had a lot to say about it, and my parents felt I might benefit from writing letters to her. This helped me to process my grief, but may not be suitable for all children who perhaps might be more suited to expressing themselves in other ways.

A word to the wise - if you do encourage your child to write letters, and if they are as prolific as I was, you may end up with drawers filled with letters to the much-missed family member (I certainly wrote more than 20), so you should probably stock up on materials like paper, pens, and printer ink - see best ink cartridge deals.

Now, let’s look at some other methods of helping your children to cope with feelings of grief or loss.

Make time to listen (and play)

Children may begin to feel anxious where they do not understand what’s going on - they may even have questions that they feel may be too ‘silly’ to ask.

By taking the time to talk, and by talking over a simple activity like playing catch or kicking a ball to one another or building with blocks, your child will begin to come out of their shell and express their true thoughts.

The best advice here is that you should have your own support network in place before trying to reassure your child - if you are anxious or insecure, this will show in your outlook and the child may feel too uncomfortable to talk to you if you seem unstable (children pick up on these things).

Cook and bake together

Kids love helping out in the kitchen especially making cupcakes or muffins and of course, depending on their age, they will love making a Giant Crumpet Pizza Cat!

Bring out the arts and crafts

Children who don’t want to express themselves through words may instead appreciate the opportunity to express themselves through arts and crafts.

Using paper, coloured pens or pencils, paints, scissors, glue, and tape, encourage your child to make artwork.

You don’t even need to suggest that they necessarily make the artwork for the deceased relative. The situation will be on their mind and will likely come out in the art, and if not, it simply means they’re not ready to talk about it yet.

That's an indicator to change the subject for a little while and circle back around to the issue of beginning to process their emotions later on in the day.

Whatever you do, approaching the matter in any way that you see fit is better than not approaching the matter at all - your child is ill-equipped to deal with the stress of grief, they need guidance.

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