Loss, Change and Bereavement: Supporting Children and Young People
The current situation impacts on all of us and we are all experiencing loss and change in some way. Some of us may experience a bereavement either directly related to COVID-19, or a bereavement which is not at all related. It is important to continue to talk to children honestly, at a level they understand to reduce their anxiety and worry and to help them feel safe, heard and connected to the adults they trust. We also recognise that the ways in which we might normally help children through such situations, e.g. by attending funerals, connecting with our wider family members or ensuring normal routines stay in place as best as possible are significantly impacted right now, and the ways in which we support our children at this time may need to look a little different.
It is common to feel stuck or worried about what to say and how to say it when it comes to talking about illness and bereavement with children. It is important we talk openly and truthfully, being mindful of a child’s developmental stage.
There is a helpful information sheet on Child Bereavement UK website explaining children’s understanding of loss at different ages and offering scripts and guidance on what we can say to help them. Please click here to view website.
Coronavirus Bereavement Support
Winston’s Wish, Child Bereavement UK and Cruse Bereavement UK have developed advice specific to coronavirus. They also offer helplines and online chat facilities, details of which can be found on their websites.
- Telling a child someone has died from coronavirus (offers scripts and advice for parents):
- Talking to bereaved children about coronavirus
Child Bereavement UK – are currently operating a phone line and a live chat function on their website
British Psychological Society Leaflet with advice on talking to children about illness
There are many other helpful websites and resources, not specific to COVID-19, which offer support for children, young people and their families which you might find helpful. Some key pages have been highlighted below which you might find useful.
Child Mind Institute – helping children to cope with grief
Marie Curie – supporting children and young people when someone dies