The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library
Helping children cope with the loss of a loved one can be quite challenging. Helping a child becomes even more difficult when also trying to navigate the grief process yourself. The passing of my mother was devastating to not only me, but to my children as well. The time immediately following her death was filled with emotion, chaos, and change. Helping my children understand what had happened and what was happening as a result also enabled me to slowly navigate through the grief.
When talking to a child about the death of a loved one it is important to be honest and use vocabulary that the child will understand. Listen to what the child has to say, answering questions and validating their feelings. Be willing to share your feelings and brainstorm ways you can both work together to remember the loved one.
There are several books that are appropriate to share with children that may allow you to open up a dialogue about the thoughts and feelings of your child and yourself. Here are a few of my favorite titles.
Children's Picture Books Dealing with Grief
Always Remember by Cece Meng
When Old Turtle dies and is taken back by the sea, his friends remember that he was a wonderful teacher and friend who made his world a better place.
Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley
Buckley and his mother cope with the loss of their father/husband by sending small wooden boats, built by Buckley, off into the ocean.
The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr
Illustrations and brief text relate how a person might feel when he or she has lost someone they love.
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
After safeguarding her heart in a bottle hung around her neck, a girl finds the bottle growing heavier and her interest in things around her becoming smaller.
Ida, Always by Caron Levis
A polar bear grieves over the loss of his companion. Based on the real-life Gus and Ida of New York City's Central Park Zoo.