A loving, safe environment that allows compassionate and non-judgmental dialogue about what children are feeling is the most important ingredient for them to accept and move through grief.

While the ideal place for this is the child’s home, many times parents and other family members are also grieving. This is why most children require other means of support – such as the child bereavement program I volunteer for.

Serious_child

Recently I worked with a child who lost a sister. During the first three sessions her only words were “everything is fine”. The bereavement class was made up of six students. The rest of the students participated with focus and ease with all the various activities which were presented. The child who lost her sister didn’t seem very interested in what we were doing, but she kept coming to the class. I wondered about how and when she would be able to start accepting and articulating the loss of her beloved sister.

During the fourth session, she opened up. She started to talk about her sister and share some beautiful memories with the class. By the end of the sixth and last session, it was obvious that she had taken the first step toward her healing. She was eagerly creating a beautiful poster all about her sister. She smiled as she talked about some of her sisters’ favorite things.

Happy_child

The nurturing environment that was created through the activities and conversations facilitated by the teachers was foundational for her to accept what had happened and to take the first few steps of healing.

Sharing an appropriate story with a child who is grieving children is a great tool to open up a healing dialogue. If you are interested in doing this, check out my book - For the Love of Emrys. The discussion questions in the back of the book, along with the free download from my website, should be a great tool to support you and your child in opening up a healing dialogue.