Helpful information on helping your child with change and loss
The COVID-19 lockdown has meant that we have all experienced change and with this, many losses. This, for many of us, has included a loss of routine, financial income, and loss of our usual social, leisure and sporting activities. For some this will include more significant changes or losses such as ill health, separation or bereavement. In this time of uncertainty, we have had to learn new ways of supporting children to cope with the impact of social isolation and how to connect with wider family and friends in new socially distanced ways.
In this time of uncertainty, we are learning to adapt to the changes before us. We are unsure of the significance of the impact of this crisis. We do know that relationships can be key to supporting adults and children by building their resilience and ability to cope with these unprecedented changes.
The importance of looking after yourself
The sudden outbreak of the coronavirus has considerably disrupted all our lives, from being unable to see friends and family to missing school or work. We are all experiencing significant change and loss and are having to adapt to a very different way of living. As adults, it is important that we acknowledge and understand our own feelings of grief and loss in order that we can help to support our children and young people. More advice and support be found on mindfulness and simple ways to find happiness.
Understanding impact of change and loss
Children’s understanding of grief and loss varies depending on their age and developmental stage. While these typical responses can be broadly identified, it is important to remember that everyone is unique and that chronological age is not always the same as developmental age. Seasons for Growth provides further information.
Grief is a process and a response to a significant loss or change. This can provoke many emotions and behaviours, but all are normal reactions to what is happening. It is natural that children and adults respond in unique and different ways to this, and experience both good and bad days. Further advice on your child’s responses can be found here.
Explaining changes that are happening can be very difficult and parents often want to ensure the language and information they use is age appropriate. Talking to your child, clearly and concisely, with information that is accurate is the key to supporting your child of any age.
Support your children to manage their emotions
Children and young people, like adults, will exhibit a range of emotions and reactions. There are many activities that can support discussion around the areas that affect you and your family. Resources to help you can be found on the Miracle Foundation and the Centre for Children and young people websites.
While we are doing all we can to support our children and young people just now, the impact of uncertainty, change and loss in this current situation, will continue to take months or years to adjust to the new ‘normal’. Longer-term, some children and young people who have experienced significant loss or bereavement may benefit from more targeted support. Seasons for Growth is an educational peer-group programme to support young people aged 6-18 years old. You can find more information out about this through your child’s school, North Lanarkshire’s Psychological Service or the Seasons for Growth website.