Supporting Children Through Grief’s Journey

Grief is a natural response to loss, and children experience it just as deeply as adults. However, their understanding and expression of grief differ depending on their age and developmental stage. As a parent or caregiver, you can play a vital role in helping your child navigate this difficult journey.

Acknowledge and Validate Their Feelings

Children may express grief through sadness, anger, confusion, or withdrawal. Let them know it’s okay to feel these emotions. Avoid minimizing their feelings or saying things like “Don’t be sad.” Instead, use simple language and acknowledge their pain.

Open Communication is Key

Encourage open communication about the loss. Answer their questions honestly and directly, using age-appropriate language. Books can be a great tool to help explain death in a gentle way. Here are some recommendations:

  • For younger children (3-7 years old):
    • “The Goodbye Book” by Todd Parr: This colorful book uses simple language to explain loss and grief.
    • “Something Very Sad Happened” by Deborah Spιοgel: This gentle story uses animals to explore feelings associated with loss.
  • For older children (8-12 years old):
    • “Tear Soup” by Pat Schwiebert: This book uses a creative metaphor of a tear soup to explore different emotions related to grief.
    • “Goodbye to Grandpa” by Judith Viorst: This story deals with the death of a grandparent in a relatable and comforting way.

Create Space for Memories

Help children keep the memory of the deceased alive. Look at photos together, share stories, plant a memorial garden, or share a keepsake with them. Encourage them to express their feelings through creative outlets like drawing, writing, or music.

Maintain Routines and Provide Stability

Grief can be disruptive, so maintaining routines and schedules can provide comfort for children. Offer reassurance and let them know they are safe and loved.

Seek Professional Help When Needed

If your child’s grief seems overwhelming or they struggle to cope, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor specializing in childhood grief.


Grief is a process, not an event. Be patient with yourself and your child. By providing love, support, and open communication, you can help them navigate this difficult time and learn healthy coping mechanisms.