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How Can Adults Help Children Grieve?

Adults can help children grieve by
  • Listening to their story. The child’s voice needs to be heard.
  • Keeping to the regular schedule so children feel safe and comforted
  • Using correct words (“Your father has died.”)
  • Encouraging the children to talk and ask questions
  • Answering what they want to know in language they understand
  • Explaining that their feelings are okay
  • Being there for the children when they want to tell you how they feel
  • Telling children that it’s not their fault their loved one died
  • Hugging the children
  • Explaining what the children will see at the funeral
  • Allowing involvement in the funeral to the extent they feel comfortable
  • Encouraging ways to express feelings through writing, art work, sports
  • Keeping a photo close by of the loved one
  • Accepting and normalizing children’s feelings
  • Encouraging collecting keepsakes and photos
  • Helping to make memory books, memory boxes
  • Being supportive
  • Being available physically and mentally
  • Being understanding
  • Letting the teacher and school counselor know what has happened
  • Monitoring your child’s responses and behavior
  • Checking out any concerns with a mental health professional
Books to help grieving children
  • Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen
  • Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola
  • Children Also Grieve by Linda Goldman
  • Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
  • Goodbye Mousie by Robert H. Harris
  • My Life Changed, A Journal for Coping with Loss and Grief by Free Spirit Publishing
  • The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia

A book for adults
  •  The Grieving Child, A Parent’s Guide by Helen Fitzgerald


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