Supporting children and young people with loss, change and bereavement

What you can do to help

Children need ongoing comfort, attention and reassurance. They can experience grief at different times and in different ways as they process their loss, experience new situations and grow and develop.

  • Accept their feelings; it is OK to be sad, angry, fearful, upset or simply feeling OK and getting on with things
  • Help children to recognise and name the feelings they have - it is normal to have a variety of responses
  • Talk to children about their feelings and help them to identify helpful ways they can manage the feelings
  • It is OK and helpful for children to see that adults have feelings, and coping strategies, too
  • Prepare your child for the changes they will face
  • Where appropriate involve your child in decisions that may affect them
  • Let your child know that whilst they may be struggling with feelings just now, and will always miss a loved one, that they will not always feel so bad

City of Edinburgh Psychological Services have a Twitter page which you might want to follow for daily tips: @CEC_EPS

Ideas to help children process loss and bereavement

  • Create a memory box with a child or together as a household. Gathering photographs, mementos or special items can help everyone to share memories
  • Make a record of special memories or photographs, this could be done online
  • Keep written memories in a special box or jar, which can be added to or looked at, at any time

For further ideas on how to support children to say goodbye when a funeral or gathering of family or friends is not possible

It may be helpful to let your child’s school know of the situation so that they can offer support for your child during lockdown and in the transition back to school. Many schools offer the ‘Seasons for Growth’ programme which supports children with change, loss and bereavement.

Spend quality time with your child and reassure them of your love and support.