During bereavement, it can help a child to talk about the person who’s died, whether it was a grandparent, parent, brother, sister or friend.
Direct, honest and open communication is more helpful than trying to protect your child by hiding the truth. If you exclude them from family ceremonies and services after someone has died it could make them feel excluded.
This can also help your child be open about their own feelings and avoid confusion about what has happened. It may be helpful to talk as a family, perhaps with your child, about how to include them in any events that celebrate or say goodbye to the person who has died.
It’s important for them to have someone with whom they can talk about that person and share their emotions. This could be through photos, games, memory boxes or stories.
Over time, children may start to talk more about their loss at different times and in different ways. Young children may start talking about death or including it in their play, but this is normal and is a way for them to make sense of what has happened.
The NHS has a great section which shows this well and give creative suggestions which could be used in a session such as a memory box which i really like the idea of.
Making a memory box
If you’re a parent and you know you’re going to die, you could make a memory box to give to your child or make one together.
A memory box contains things that remind you both of your time together. It can provide an important link between you and your child once you’ve gone.
Macmillan Cancer Support has information about making a memory box.