I have seen many children in the wake of a death or significant loss, not just in my previous role as a counsellor, but in my work in palliative care and as a celebrant who’s conducted more than 200 funerals.
So often we want to protect children from death and avoid dealing with it, but we are actually protecting them from a vital learning, which will come at a cost later in life. Coping with significant loss and death is a vital life skill that children can benefit from experiencing while they are still children.
So what happens for children when a death occurs? How can we support them through the anguish and confusion? What can we do to prepare them in some way for this experience well before it happens? One thing you cannot do, no matter how much you wish you could, is take their pain away. However, the resources below offer some insights into preparing them and supporting them for the inevitable loss experiences that life delivers.
The best place to start with my resources on this page is to take a look at my article, Death Through the Eyes of a Child and have a listen to our episode of the ABC podcast Parental As Anything, on helping children deal with death and loss.
I also have two audio tracks that are helpful for grief and loss, including The Magic Yellow Cloud and Endless Journey. For people who are supporting teens through grief and loss, I have created a book/ebook Death and Loss Through the Eyes of a Teen.
Also for people with children under 12, please check out this list of Children’s Books to Help with Death, Dying and Illness.