Even if the loss happened many years ago, children and teens re-experience grief at each developmental stage of their young lives. Adults can help by paying attention, being available to talk, showing support.
Grief in Children, ages 6-12 – what to look for, what to do
|Grief Cues for Children
||How to be with Children in Grief
- Acting out, angry outbursts
- Physical reactions—recurring sickness, allergies, stomach aches, headaches
- Changes in sleep patterns, nightmares or bad dreams
- Regressive Behavior
- Obsessive or repetitive behaviors that seem odd in the circumstance
- Lack of interest in usual activities
- Eating Problems or Disorders
- Crying easily
- Problems with concentration or focus
- Refusal to talk or emotional withdrawal
- Assure them that those helping love them and will keep them safe.
- Keep routines consistent, which provides a safe predictable environment
- Set reasonable, consistent boundaries to provide a sense of safety
- Provide recreation–this enables children to have fun and take a break from grieving
- Provide healthy snacks, meals—their bodies are grieving, too.
- Care for and accept them as they are
- Tell the truth and answer their questions honestly, with age-appropriate words
- Help them create memory rituals, talk about the person and recall stories
- Acknowledge their loss of focus and interest
- Reflect back what they say without judgment; ask them questions as they try to make sense of what happened.
Downloadable PDF Children’s Grief – what to look for what to do