Supporting Children Through The Loss Of A Loved One

When someone you love dies, it can be a very confusing and scary time for your children. The best way to help them through the loss is to be honest with them and let them know that you understand how they feel. 

Here are some tips for supporting children through this difficult time:

How to Explain Death to Children
Supporting children through grief is important for their emotional well-being.
Talking to children about death and grief can be challenging, but it’s an essential part of helping them cope with loss.
As a parent, it’s important to be there for your child during the grieving process, while also taking care of your own emotional needs.
There are practical strategies and tips that parents can use to support their child through grief and help them cope with loss.
Seeking professional help may be necessary if a child is struggling with grief or having difficulty coping with the loss of a loved one.

Don’t Pretend The Death Didn’t Happen

Children grieve. They need to know that you understand their feelings, and that it’s natural to feel the way they do. It is important for them to know that they are not alone in their feelings. 

Try not to pretend that this person never existed; it is better for your child to be able to talk about him or her openly and honestly. 

In addition, talking about what has happened can help your child understand the situation better, as well as give them a sense of control over their emotions and behaviors

Don’t avoid talking about death with children if you suspect they may have heard something at school or through friends’ families who have lost a loved one recently; this kind of avoidance only adds more confusion and stress onto an already difficult situation.

“Grief can be overwhelming for both children and parents, but as a parent, it’s important to be there for your child during this difficult time. Our guide on supporting children through grief provides valuable insights and strategies to help you navigate this journey together.” – Supporting Children Through Grief: A Guide for Parents

Don’t Try To Replace The Loved One Who Died

When a parent dies, it’s natural to want to fill the void. But don’t try to replace the loved one who died. Even if you’re a perfect fit for that child and their life, it’s not going to work out well in terms of your relationship with them. 

You can be there for them as a support person and make up their life in the way that they need, but don’t try to be their mother or father; you will only create more problems down the road if you do this. 

Your role is still important; by being there when they need someone at night, during holidays or when something bad happens at school (like finding out about bullying).

Encourage your child to talk about their feelingsTry to hide your own grief
Help your child remember happy times with their loved oneRush your child to “move on”
Allow your child to grieve in their own way and in their own timeAvoid talking about the loved one who died
Offer your child extra love and supportPretend everything is normal

Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

Make sure you don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you promise to do something, make sure it’s something that is within your capabilities and doesn’t take away from other commitments.

Don’t promise to be somewhere if there is no way for you to get there. And never tell a child not to tell anyone about something when they ask if they can share the secret with their friends and family—the answer should always be yes!

“Talking to children about death and grief can be challenging, but it’s an essential part of helping them cope with loss. Our guide on how to talk to your child about death and grief offers practical tips and advice to help you have these difficult conversations.” – How to Talk to Your Child About Death and Grief

Tell Your Child About The Funeral If There Is One

When telling your child about the funeral, it’s important to let them know what is going to happen in a way they can understand. 

This may mean using words and language that are appropriate for their age. For example, if you know your child understands death as “people go away forever,” explain this in terms of their own experience: “We will have a special time together when we say goodbye.”

If there are any questions, answer them honestly and without overwhelming them with too much information at once but always be prepared with answers at hand so you don’t have to come back later or put off answering until another day when you’re more prepared. 

You can also encourage them to ask questions by saying something like “I’m happy you asked me about that; I’ll tell you all about it.”

Let Your Child Express Feelings

A major part of supporting your child is allowing them to express their feelings in a safe environment. You can do this by keeping an open dialogue with your child, listening to what they have to say and not rushing them through their emotions. 

You could also encourage them to write down how they feel about the death and make a picture book about how the family has been affected by it.

It is important for children to know that someone will listen if they want to talk about how much they miss their loved one who has died or what made him/her special for example, their sense of humor or kindness. 

The best way for kids to process grief is what psychologists call “active constructive coping,” which means finding ways of dealing with pain that don’t involve avoidance or denial (which can sometimes lead into depression).

“As a parent, it can be difficult to navigate your own grief while supporting your child through theirs. Our guide on grieving with children offers valuable insights and strategies to help you cope with your own emotions while being there for your child.” – Grieving With Children: A Parent’s Guide

Allow Your Child To Ask Questions

Allow your child to ask questions. Children will have many questions about their loved one’s death, and they need a safe space in which to ask them. Be honest but try to keep things simple so that you can help guide your child through the grieving process.

Encourage your children to express their feelings about their loss and don’t be afraid of your own. Allow them time alone or with friends if they wish, as this may help them feel better and more comfortable sharing how they are feeling with you. 

Don’t feel pressured into offering too much information about what happened immediately after the death has occurred — there is no right or wrong way of talking or reacting at this time!

Answer your child’s questions honestly, in age-appropriate languageAvoid or dodge your child’s questions
Help your child understand that it’s normal to have questions and feelings about deathUse euphemisms or metaphors that might confuse your child
Use real-life examples to help your child understand what happens when someone diesDiscourage your child from talking about death
Let your child know that it’s okay to feel sad or angryAssume that your child isn’t old enough to handle the truth

Encourage Your Child To Talk About Happy Memories With The Person Who Died

One way to help your child is by encouraging him or her to talk about happy memories with the person who died. 

This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Ask your child what their favorite memory was with the family member who passed, and share some of yours as well.
  • Bring up conversations about fun things that happened together in the past that you’d like to repeat, if possible.
  • Create a picture collage of happy moments like these and hang it somewhere prominent in your home so everyone can see it when they walk through the door.

“Children may struggle to cope with the loss of a loved one, but there are ways you can help them through this difficult time. Our guide on 10 ways to help your child cope with the loss of a loved one offers practical tips and strategies to support your child’s grieving process.” – 10 Ways to Help Your Child Cope With the Loss of a Loved One

Keep Routines As Normal As Possible For Your Kid.

The loss of a parent, sibling or other loved one can be very difficult for children to cope with, especially if they are still young. 

Keeping your child’s routines as normal as possible is important, not only because it helps them feel safe and secure but also because it gives them some control over their lives. This can help them feel like they have a place in the world.

As much as possible try to continue things that were normal before your loved one died. For example:

If you used to do something at school together on Wednesday afternoons then try keeping this up even though now it’s just you going there without them. 

It might be hard at first but gradually you will get used to doing things on your own again and this will help your child get used to having less time with you too.

Stick to your child’s normal routines (e.g., bedtime, mealtimes) as much as possibleExpect too much from your child too soon
Let your child’s school or teachers know about the situation so they can provide extra supportMake too many changes all at once
Create new routines or rituals to help your child cope (e.g., lighting a candle in memory of the loved one)Use routines as a way to avoid talking about the loss
Be patient and understanding if your child has trouble adjusting to changesForce your child to participate in activities they don’t enjoy

Acknowledge Other People’s Different Ways Of Grieving

  • Don’t judge other people’s grief.
  • Don’t try to tell people how to grieve.
  • If you’re feeling like you’re not grieving correctly, it’s okay to ask for help from a professional or support group.

Be Patient With Yourself, Too

Remember that you are grieving, too. It may be hard to stay patient with your children while they grieve the loss of their loved one. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you don’t always meet their needs or expectations. You will do your best and that is all anyone can ask for during this time.

Be kind to yourself

There are many ways for you to care for yourself during this difficult time:

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep when possible.
  • Eat regular meals and healthy snacks throughout the day (make sure there are always healthy options available).
  • Try exercising at least once a day, even if it is just taking a walk around the block or doing some stretches while watching TV at night before bedtime (remembering that moving helps ease depression).
  • Spend time with friends or join a support group where people are going through similar experiences as yours because it can provide great comfort knowing others understand what you’re going through!

“Supporting a child through grief and loss can be a challenging journey, but there are things you can do to make it easier. Our guide on 15 tips for supporting your child through grief and loss offers practical advice and insights to help you navigate this journey together.” – 15 Tips for Supporting Your Child Through Grief and Loss

Make An Effort To Stay Connected To Family And Friends

It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one who is going through this loss. Your child will need the support of family and friends as well, so make an effort to stay connected with them.

One simple way you can do this is by calling them often and inviting them over for visits whenever possible. 

If you have other children living in the home, encourage your child to spend time with them even if they don’t have much in common or didn’t get along before the death occurred—so they know they are not alone. 

Be mindful of how much time your child spends alone or on their own devices (iPads, computers). 

It may be helpful for both of you if you set some boundaries on when these activities can happen during the day as well as what kinds of content should be available for them online (e.g., no violent games).


In the end, it’s important to remember that you are not alone in your grief. There are many resources out there available to support you as you go through this difficult time with your child. 

The most important thing is to stay connected with others and keep talking about what happened even if it feels like too hard a subject to discuss at first.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you support your child through grief:

KidsHealth: Helping Your Child Deal With Death – This article provides information on how to talk to children about death and support them through the grieving process.

Child Mind Institute: Helping Children Deal With Grief – This article offers guidance on how to support children through grief and provides tips for parents and caregivers.


Q: How can I tell if my child is grieving?

A: Children may express their grief in different ways, including changes in behavior, mood, and appetite. They may also have trouble sleeping or seem more anxious than usual. It’s important to communicate with your child and pay attention to any changes in their behavior.

Q: How do I talk to my child about death?

A: It’s important to use age-appropriate language and be honest with your child about what has happened. Answer their questions as best as you can and reassure them that it’s okay to feel sad or angry.

Q: Should I shield my child from death?

A: While it’s natural to want to protect your child from difficult experiences, shielding them from death may not be possible or helpful. It’s important to be honest with your child and help them understand what has happened in a way that’s appropriate for their age and level of understanding.

Q: How can I support my child through the grieving process?

A: Offer your child love and support, and let them know that it’s okay to feel sad or angry. Be there to listen to them and answer their questions. Encourage them to express their feelings and offer them ways to cope, such as through art or journaling.

Q: When should I seek professional help for my child?

A: If you’re concerned about your child’s behavior or they seem to be struggling with grief, it’s important to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can help your child work through their emotions and provide additional support.