Helping Children Cope with Death

may leave him/her with the anticipation that daddy will return.

Allow Children to Share Experiences of Memorial Observances

Allow children the opportunity to attend the funeral or memorial service. This confronts them with the reality that death has occurred and helps them acknowledge their loss. It is important to give a child time prior to the funeral to view the body and say goodbye in his/her own way. Older children need detailed information about what to expect at the funeral. Perhaps they will want to visit with the funeral home director who can answer questions. Although children should be encouraged to attend funerals, they should never be forced. Likewise, they should not be forced to kiss or touch the deceased, although it is perfectly appropriate if they wish to do so. Allow children to share experiences of remembrance, such as going to the cemetery. Going to the cemetery works against avoidance, denial and repression of painful feelings. The sadness felt in that place may help the child move through his/her grief. Children need concrete ways of expressing themselves. It may be important for children to take flowers, letters or other gifts to the

cemetery. Encourage the child to write a goodbye letter to the deceased. The letter can be taken to the cemetery and buried or placed with a flower arrangement. If the funeral has passed, and children did not participate for whatever reason, it is

Encourage children

to express themselves without forcing them to.

not too late to remedy the situation. Ask a trusted clergy person or the funeral director

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