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Helping Children Cope with Grief

A parent hugging their child due to the loss of a loved one

Supporting your Child with Loss & Bereavement

There are many ways to lose a loved one and many ways to grieve.  One commonality is that grieving is composed of two different processes, the need to deal with the loss and the need to restore ourselves. These experiences can look quite different and goes some way to explain the sense of feeling energised one minute and very low the next.  It’s natural and healthy for children to oscillate quite instinctively and often surprisingly quickly between the two.  

Five Suggestions to Help a Child Come to Terms with the Loss of a Loved One 

  • When you tell your child about the death, avoid euphemisms such as ‘passed away’.  It’s important to be clear they are not coming back but that you will all hold them in your heart and mind forever.
  • Start a memory box for that person. It can be beautiful and include soothing sensory objects with nice smells and fabrics as well as small objects that remind them of their loved one or happy times they spent together. Let them choose when to look in the box and when to put it away. It can give them a sense of control over the process.
  • The child’s loved one could prepare a special box of cards, writing down things they wish they could say to them over the years, which the child will keep forever and can return to at different stages.   
  • Complex grief – unexpected sudden deaths, suicide, homicide or substance use can lead to longer and more complex greiving.  We recommend seeking professionals to support you and your child as you try to make sense of sudden deaths of loved ones. Please see our recommended organisations for further information.

Recommended Books:

Muddles Puddles and Sunshine” by Diana Crossley and Kate Sheppard. An activity book to help children when someone has died.

The Sad Book” by Michael Rosen. A beautiful picture book for all ages, telling the story of a father’s grief for his son.

Visit our full list of book recommendations…

If you are a parent or carer in need of advice on helping your child(ren) with the loss of a loved one, our online therapists are here to help with the advice and tools you need. Book an Online Parent Consultation or get in touch with Chloe for more information.


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Parent Consultation: They have become much better at expressing their feelings and opening up to me and their siblings.

Parent, 2023

School Counselling: My son has completely turned around and is simply wonderful at the moment. He is back to his normal self at home, being very happy, caring and kind. He is especial kind and caring with his sister and just the best brother ever now. As a family, we are happy and content.

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Head-teacher of St Saviour’s School, Tower Hamlets

You have helped me build a barrier of protection against pain and I can’t thank you enough for that…I have never felt so emotionally strong.

Student, aged 15

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Tereza Nogueira, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Senior supervisor UKCP

This intervention has had an enormous, positive impact for us all and we sincerely hope that other families benefit from the same programme…his positive behaviour is having a really good impact on all elements of his school life.

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I am glad I am coming to see you every Thursday because I used to hold all these things in my head and that was hard.

Girl, age 10

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student, age 11