Supporting a bereaved child can be bewildering and exhausting, particularly if you are grieving yourself.
Support for you
You may need some support for yourself, as well as for your children. Try Cruse Bereavement Care: their website and freephone national helpline have lots of support for grieving adults.
If you are under 50 and have been bereaved of your husband, wife or partner, you might find it helpful to be in touch with WAY Widowed and Young, a self-help organisation with a range of activities.
For practical information about the financial and administrative things that need to happen after a death, click here.
Talking to your child’s school
Informing schools and other educational settings about your child’s bereavement can help make sure they get the support they need. We’ve produced a list of topics that can help you have this conversation and make a plan together.
If you need help thinking about your child’s choice of school, see our guidance.
Our guidance on exam consideration sets out how schools should take bereavement into account when making assessments.
Tips from other parents
- Try to talk to your children honestly and explain what has happened in a way that they can understand. They need information and reassurance.
- Try to talk to your children about the funeral. Including them and giving them choices will help them to remember and say goodbye.
- Talk about the person who has died - include your children in remembering.
- How children grieve will depend on their age and their understanding of events.
- Your children's grief may be shown in behaviour, and they may be distraught one minute and playing happily the next.
- Inform the school about your children's loss.
- Trust your instincts as a parent and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
- It's OK for you and your children to feel sad, angry, confused, empty, guilty, anxious and many other emotions - and it's ok if you don't.
Suggestions from young people
A group of bereaved children and young people working with Seasons for Growth (Scotland) have come up with a list of suggestions about how parents and carers could support their bereaved child. Your child may find some of these approaches helpful: you could download them and talk about which ones might work.