REMEMBER that children think and grieve differently than adults.
EXPRESS your own feelings openly and appropriately.
Communicate openly and honestly. NEVER LIE.
ANSWER all of your children’s questions and concerns with honest, simple
ALLOW your children to express feelings in their own ways and at their own
MAINTAIN routines and consistency as much as possible.
KEEP DISCIPLINE fair, reasonable, and age-appropriate.
DO NOT CHANGE THE RULES. Set limits and keep them.
BALANCE discussion of the past with awareness of the present.
SHOW your children how important they are.
SET ASIDE TIME to have one-to-one, uninterrupted interactions with each child.
REMEMBER that grieving children may act out because of feelings of insecurity
or abandonment, to provoke punishment/limit-setting, to externalize their grief
feelings, or to protect themselves from future losses. BE PATIENT!
Family Healing Activities
Make a family scrapbook of photos, drawings, and mementos that memorialize
your lost loved one. make lists of his/her talents, characteristics, favorite things.
Be sure to include blank pages for adding memories as time goes by.
Plant a tree or plant in memory of the lost loved one. Watch it grow. Have picnics
around it. Tie ribbons on it. Nurture and care for it.
Do relaxation exercises as a family. Breathe deeply, visualize your body relaxing.
Take a peaceful imaginary trip using visualization.
Write a book about your family’s experience with loss. Encourage children to
dictate, write, and/or illustrate. Protect it with a good cover and share it with
Instead of a book, your family may choose to dictate your story onto a tape or
videotape recorder. Tell stories, sing songs, share feelings. Watch or listen to it
later as a family.
Create a “worry box” for the family. Encourage each member to write or draw
feelings of guilt, regret, fear, or worry and place them into the box. Imagine being
released from the feelings as the enter the box. Imagine being released from the
feelings as they enter the box. bur the box and papers in a fireplace or fire pit.
Set aside a place of remembrance in your home with photos, mementos, etc.
Allow children to add “gifts” such as flowers, drawings, poems, or letters. Provide
supervised times for candle-lighting, prayers, or discussion of feelings and
Volunteer as a family for a charity or cause that was meaningful to your lost loved
one. (Examples: beach clean-up, senior citizen’s center, soup kitchen.)