Losing someone that you care about can be a difficult process for anyone to go through, especially if they were someone that you were close to. For children, however, understanding death and processing the range of emotions that come with that loss, such as grief, anger and sadness, can be an incredibly challenging and confusing transitional period to get through. Just like adults, children express their grief in different ways, and this dictates the type of support they will need. If your family has recently faced a bereavement, and you’re unsure how best to help your children acclimatise to this life-changing event, here are some steps that you might find useful.
Keep it simple and honest
Explaining the concept of dying to children can be difficult, so it is important that you keep your explanations as simple as possible to make it an easier conversation for them to grasp. Use clear words, and try not to go off on tangents that will be difficult to follow. While it might be a sensitive topic to broach, children appreciate honesty and are more likely to adjust better once they have a clear understanding of the situation.
Make the process as straightforward as possible
Not only do you have to deal with the emotional aspects of grief and loss after the death of a loved one, but there are also other more logistical matters that you have to consider. During this difficult time, children can easily become distressed and confused, especially if you and your family are facing a lot of upheavals. In order to make this transitional process as comfortable as you can for your children, it is important to find ways to simplify proceedings; for example, you might get someone else to handle funeral proceedings, or decide to seek professional help with disputing a will at the-inheritance-experts.co.uk.
Provide a space for them to express their emotions
Just as you will deal with your grief in your own way, so too will your children, and it is essential that you provide a safe space for them to express their emotions in their own way. Encourage your children to put their thoughts and feelings into words, as the clearer they can express themselves, the less likely they are to bottle up their emotions, and the easier they will find it to heal. Additionally, the less they struggle to verbalise their emotions, the easier it will be for you to check-in with them to make sure that they are coping well.
Tell them what to expect
The traditions and rituals surrounding a person’s death can be just as daunting and confusing to children as the loss of a loved one. Therefore, you need to find ways to clearly explain these events to them so that they don’t feel overwhelmed when the time comes for a funeral or a wake. Be prepared to listen to and answer any questions or concerns that your children may have honestly and concisely, to comfort them as best you can, and give them space and time to acclimatise to these new situations.