Coping with the death of a loved one is hard. If you have a child, you may feel unsure on the best way to support them through grief.
Let your child know that’s it’s OK to feel what they’re feeling. It’s fine to be angry, upset, or to cry.
They may have questions about what’s happening. Be honest with them about the situation and how you’re feeling. You will be going through your own grief, and they are going to see that. Make sure they know they can talk to you.
Remember experiences you had with the person who has passed away. Take time to celebrate their life. You might share stories, favourite things about them, or even the things you will miss most now they’re gone.
You could also make memory box. Decorate an old shoe box and let your child choose objects that spark memories to put inside. This might be:
Your child can go back to these at times when they need comforting.
Make sure you and your child are getting enough sleep, exercise and healthy food. Looking after your physical health will help you all cope with your emotions too.
Call on friends and family to offer support. They might want to visit, call or send letters. This should help your child feel close to their extended family and support network.
If you can, get outside for fresh air. Or have a go at some mindful colouring or activities to ease anxious feelings.
Look after your own wellbeing as well as your child’s. There are a range of emotions that come with grief – and they can come in any order. The stages of grief include shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
It may take a while to reach acceptance, but the process of grieving is important. Make some time for yourself. If you have a partner, ask them to give you some space when you need it.
Think about things you can do that help with anxious feelings, anger and sadness. Try and build these things into your day. If you or your child are struggling, there are people who can help. You could: