Children’s Grief Awareness Week – some thoughts from our Just ‘B’ team

Just 'B' is our specialist bereavement and emotional wellbeing service. Here members of our team share thoughts on how to support a child or young person who has been bereaved.

Today is #ChildrensGriefAwarenessDay – a chance for us all to reflect on just how the loss of a loved one can impact children and young people.
At Just ‘B’ we believe that with the right support, at the right time, children and young people can find a way to manage their grief and embrace a future where they can live and remember their significant person in a healthy and positive way.
Our services provide one to one, personalised emotional wellbeing and bereavement support for children in the Harrogate, Hambleton and Richmondshire Districts affected by any type of bereavement.
Here our team share some thoughts on how to support children around a death.
Be honest:, as much as possible. Instinct tells us to protect children from upset, but a young person asking a the question, is ready for the answer. Use simple clear words to talk about death.
Sharing your own grief and feelings with your child can help you both grow stronger together.
Be understanding: Children and young people need the opportunity to express feelings. Knowing they have support gives them the safety net they need to be open and not bottle anything up. Nobody can be sure of a child’s reactions, but giving them the choice and the freedom to express them is what’s important.
Be prepared; Talk to them about what to expect from a funeral, memorial gathering or wake. think about explaining exactly what will happen on the day and how people might respond. Let them be involved in things such as choosing photos for the event and making their own choices about whether to attend or not.
Be involved: It will benefit your child if you are able to be part of their grieving process. Similarly, if there is any way your child may seek fun, enjoyment and escapism, give them the space to do this where appropriate. Involving yourself in activities they enjoy will give you an idea of how they are coping.
Be within reach: Every child reacts in their own way when they learn that someone close to them has died. Stay with your child to offer hugs or comfort. Answer your child’s questions. Or just be together for a few minutes
Encourage your child to talk about his or her emotions. Suggest other ways to express feelings, such as writing in a journal or drawing a picture. But be aware that the child may not be ready to talk.
Without overwhelming your child, share your grief with him or her. Expressing your emotions can encourage your son or daughter to share his or her own emotions.
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