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.