Centre for

Grief &


Counselling & Training Services

19 Carlton Mews, The Carlton Centre,

Lincoln, LN2 4FJ

Tel: 01522 546168

Fax: 01522 546172


Charity Reg. No. 1100421

Bereavement - Things that may help - A guide for Adults to support Children

Go to the LCGL Home Page

When someone who is important to us dies it can be a very difficult time. It can also be a worrying time if children and young people are involved.


Instinct seems to be to shield children amd young people from such experiences to try to protect them from pain and sadness.


However, children and young people often sense when things happen and may feel hurt and rejected if they are not told directly. It may confuse and isolate children when they are full of emotions they have never experienced.


Children may express their grief in many ways.  They may:

  • cry
  • become anxious & clingy
  • be anxious about family and friends
  • become distress on parting
  • be distressed by changes of routine
  • revert to "babyish" behaviour
  • have difficulty concentrating
  • show aggressive behaviour
  • have bad drams / nightmares
  • revert to bedwetting
  • have outbursts & mood swings
  • have unexplained aches, pains & tiredness
  • be worried about school
  • become withdrawn
  • become pre-occupied with death
  • include death in play and stories
  • feel guilty

They may even feel a sense of relief or happiness.

You may be worried about what to say in case you the wrong thing.


It will help if you

  • Let them know what is happening
  • Are honest
  • Answer their questions truthfully and directly
  • Reassure them that it's OK to ask questions
  • Allow them to express their feelings
  • Don't be afraid to show your sadness
  • Give them the opportunity to say goodbye by taking part in farewell rituals
  • Talk together about the person who has died


What to do:

  • Acknowledge the child's loss
  • Make time to talk
  • Inform school and others involved with the child / young person
  • Keep your routine as normal as possible
  • Teachers or friends may have books, leaflets & videos to help
  • Reinforce that it is still OK to have fun and not feel guilty
  • Be available
  • Offer a place of refuge
  • Identify with the child someone they can talk to
  • Help the child to understand how they feel and why
  • Give permission to feel like they do
  • Seek professional help if you feel the child is not coping (see Contact List)

Helping children and young people at the early stages could prevent serious problems later on in life.

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