Dealing with death is never easy. Not only are there logistical things that need to be taken care of, like the ready of a will or the handling of a trust, but there’s also the entire emotional aspect that needs to be slowly and carefully maneuvered as well.
While it’s only adults who will manage the logistical parts of death, children can and will be impacted by any death of someone they know, whether they were close to this person or not. However, having a loved one die can be even more traumatic.
To help you and your child get through this situation, here are three tips for helping a child cope with the death of a loved one.
Break The News The Right Way
In many cases, there’s a right way and a wrong way to let your child know that someone they love has died.
According to Catherine McCall, a contributor to Psychology Today, you shouldn’t delay telling your child about the death. One thing that can make hearing about a death more challenging for a child is if they hear this new out of context or from someone they don’t know or trust. Additionally, you should avoid using any type of euphemisms when speaking about death. Although it’s very common for adults to refer to someone dying by saying things like “passed away” or “are no longer with us”, you child likely won’t understand this and will end up being more confused.
Expect All Kinds Of Emotions
Once you’ve informed your child about the death of their loved one, you should expect all kinds of emotions to take place, ranging from sadness or indifference.
Along with this, Dr. D’Arcy Lyness, a contributor to KidsHealth.org, recommends that you help your child to name any feelings that he or she might be having. This can be very helpful for working through these feelings and coping with the stages of grief that your child will go through.
Encourage Them To Share Happy Memories
While the time immediately after someone dies likely won’t lend itself to much happiness or levity, it’s important that your child doesn’t only feel sadness and pain when they think about the person who has died.
To help with this, ChildMind.org advises that you spend some time with your child where you think about happy memories you had with your loved one. You should try to encourage your child not to feel scared of talking about this person whenever they feel the need or desire.
If your child has recently had a loved one die, consider using the tips mentioned above to help them through this difficult time.