At Mobile Memorial Gardens Cemetery, one of our missions is to help the family of the loved one with their loss. One question we often get asked is “How can I help a child through grief and loss”? With that in mind, today we want to share 3 ways we have found to help children of any age process their grief and loss of a loved one.
Remain Available: Let Them Know You Will Listen
Often times, we as adults assume children know we are here to listen. However, remind them of this fact by saying the words out loud to them on a regular basis. It is likely that the child may not be ready to talk right away. Perhaps they do not know how to articulate what they feel or think at that moment. And that is ok. The cycle of grief includes anger, denial and on to eventual acceptance. There is no timeline on this process, for that reason, let children know you will listen to whatever it is they need to say wherever they are at in their grief. Remain as available as you can to them.
It Takes a Village: Let Others Know
Let other people know of the loss the child has experienced. For example, if they are in school, send an email to the guidance counselor. If they participate in sports or other extracurricular activities and have a rapport with the leader, let this person know. Along the same lines, asking for help from parents of their friends is beneficial, too. This can be as simple as an extra invitation to a playdate once in a while. These types of distractions are helpful as they move through their feelings. Keep in mind that some children will thrive on more personal attention. Others may prefer to not have attention drawn to them. Include this personality detail in your alert to others, letting them know what gestures would be best to include as ways to show kindness towards the child.
In it Together: Honor the Loss
Depending upon whom you lost, you may be dealing with your own profound grief. Many find it helpful to honor the loss alongside their child at the appropriate time. To honor the loss, talk with the child about the person you lost. Remember the good times. If it feels right, talk about starting a memento chest or album. These include photos, mementos and even other favorite items of the deceased, such as a favorite flower.
Children process loss and grief differently than adults do. With this in mind, implement these 3 tips to help the child you love along their journey. Mobile Memorial Gardens Cemetery is here as a resource for more information.
Mobile Memorial Gardens Cemetery is a non-profit cemetery located at 6100 Three Notch Road in Mobile, Alabama. We are here to help those who are in need and make it a priority to preserve the memories of your loved ones in a dignified, honorable and comfortable place. Visit us online at mobilememorialgardens.org or on our Facebook page. If you have suffered a loss and would like to speak to us, please call us at 251-661-1333.