Adults may feel unsure about how to start a difficult conversation or what exactly to say, but it’s important to talk openly and honestly about grief.
There’s nothing easy about explaining death to a child, especially the death of a parent or close family member. Adults may feel unsure about how to start the conversation or what exactly to say, but it’s important to talk openly and honestly about the situation.
- Watch this video together in a quiet place in which children feel comfortable and safe, then begin a conversation, being as concrete as you can. For example, “Do you remember what Elmo’s daddy said about Elmo’s Uncle Jack?” (“Uncle Jack died. When a person dies, his or her body stops working. Their heart stops beating and their body stops moving, eating, and breathing.”) You may have to repeat these facts.
- Remind kids that whenever Elmo puts on Uncle Jack’s silly hat and swings a baseball bat, he thinks of him. Together, look for an object or find (or talk about) a special place that reminds kids of the person who died. It might be a book they’d read together, a park they used to visit, or a favorite food they ate together. Tell kids that each time they see this thing or go to this special place, they can remember their special person in their hearts.
When Kids Need Special-Special Comfort
In the midst of big changes, comfort items such as small stuffed animals and blankets can provide a sense of continuity in a child’s life.
For children and adults, it’s important to celebrate the lives of our loved ones who have died.
Grief and Change Caused by COVID-19
It’s okay to have feelings of grief when we experience changes big and small.
Helping Children Through Grief Related To COVID-19
There are ways to help families talk about death, express their feelings, and grieve together.
Open Ended Art
Doing open-ended art activities together helps adults and children relax and connect.
Showing and Sharing Feelings
Naming a big feeling can help children begin to understand it, and later regulate it.
Coloring to Calm Down
Coloring can help both children and grown-ups feel more calm and grounded.