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Helping Children with Grief
When a child experiences grief for the first time, it can be a difficult and confusing time. There are so many emotions that are being felt during a time of grief.
As a parent, it can be hard because not only are you trying to help your child through the grief of losing a grandparent, but you are also dealing with loss. The loss of either their own parent or your mother or father in law.
And trying to process that grief is hard enough for yourself. Being there for your child as well is important during this time.
What Do You Say to a Child Who Has Lost a Grandparent?
Explaining the loss of a grandparent to a child can be done in different ways. The best way to is be simple and straightforward.
One way that we have explained the loss of a loved one to our children is to say that their grandfather or grandmother has gone up to the angels. We have explained that you can’t see them or talk to them anymore because of they are now with the angels.
Another way to explain the loss is with a book. A highly recommended book is the Invisible String. The book talks about how we are all connected by an invisible string made of love. And so even though you may not be able to see a person anymore, you are still connected by the invisible string.
This can provide children with comfort during this time and know that their grandparent still loves them even though they can no longer be with them.
How Do You Help a Grieving Child?
There are several ways to help a grieving child. One is to listen to their questions, and answer as honestly as you can.
The questions may not come immediately when you tell them about the loss. They are more likely to come over time as they think about what you’ve told them. Telling them the truth, to the best of your ability, will help them feel safe.
Another thing is to let them know that it is ok to be to be sad and to cry. You may feel like you need to be strong and not let kids see you cry when you are grieving.
But it is ok. By letting them see you cry, it gives them comfort that it is ok for them to cry too. Just be honest about why.
When my dad passed away, my daughter would see me cry and ask me why. I would tell her I was thinking of Gramps (what she called my dad) and that I was just sad that I couldn’t see or talk to him anymore.
This helped open up communication between us – she would tell me she was sad, but didn’t cry and how she thought about him a lot. I believe being honest with your feelings helps your child know that what they are feeling is perfectly normal and that they can talk to you about it, even if you are grieving too.
Help the kids keep their memories alive. Don’t be afraid to talk about their grandparents in front of them. It will help them remember and make them feel comfortable talking about them too.
They may feel like they can’t talk about it so it’s important to show them that it is ok and that you would like them to.
One way we keep memories of my children’s grandfather and grandmother alive is by sending them birthday cards. Every year on their birthday, my daughter, and now my son, make them a birthday card. Then we attach it to a balloon and send it up to the angels.
It’s an amazing way for my children to remember the grandparents they have lost.
No matter how you explain it, the most important thing to help a child deal with the loss of their grandparent is just to let them know you are there for them.
They can come to you no matter what and let you talk or help the best you can. You will be honest with them and answer any questions that they may have.
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