Simple Tools to Engage a Grieving Child

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When a child is grieving, we often do not know what to say or do. The best rule of thumb is to spend time with children and see how the grief is impacting them. What questions do they ask?  Is their behavior giving any clues to their level of understanding? Don’t be alarmed if a child wants to “play” funeral or another traumatic experience. Play is how children make meaning of their experiences. This type of behavior is completely normal and helps them process their emotions in a safe environment.

Art projects such as coloring or drawing is another way for children to process and for us to gain clues about a child’s grief. Books can also help open up a discussion and encourage a child to express feelings. A book can be reassuring, letting children know that they are not the only one who has suffered a loss.

For a list of books which can be used with children on the topic of death, loss, and grief, click here.

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