Speaking with children about grief

The greatest gift you can give your children is not protection from change, loss, pain or stress, but the confidence and tools to cope with all that life has to offer them. - Dr. Wendy Harpham, MD


Talking to children about loss, dying and death.

· Be open and honest using simple and direct language.

· Avoid euphemism’s like “Grandma’s gone to sleep” or “We lost Dad”. This just causes fear and confusion in children.

· Let them ask questions. Short concise answers are best. If you don’t have all the answers that’s ok too. Children will appreciate that you are trying.

· Help them to understand and express their natural feelings of grief. Sharing your own feelings of grief will help them to know its ok to share theirs.

· We don’t need to wait till dying or death occurs to have teachable moments. The seasons of nature offer many everyday opportunities to explain the life cycle.


When you’re willing to discuss difficult topics, your children learn that:

· Hard conversations can happen safely.

· They’re a valued member of the family.

· They can talk with you about life’s most challenging experiences

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