The death of a loved one is difficult to process at any age, but may be especially challenging for children. While toddlers typically struggle to understand the concept, teenagers sometimes become rebellious in response to their complex emotions. Hospice professionals recommend using the following guide to help kids cope with the loss of a grandparent.
How to Help Children Grieve a Grandparent
Keep the Language Simple
When the time comes to discuss the death of a grandparent with your kids, keep your language simple and clear. Use a gentle, compassionate tone as you deliver the news. Avoid going into detail unless your children specifically ask for it.
Allow Them to React
When children learn they’ve lost a grandparent, they may react in a variety of different and unpredictable ways. For instance, your kids may cry, show signs of confusion, or perhaps not respond at all. Regardless of their reaction, reassure them of your comforting presence, and encourage them to express their feelings or ask questions. Keep in mind that many hospice and nursing home providers offer emotional support programs for families grieving the loss of a loved one.
Children may be particularly sensitive to changes in routine after a death in the family, so try to maintain a normal schedule if possible. Let them know who will fulfill certain roles their grandparent used to play. For example, if their grandparents used to pick them up from school or look after them on weekends, comfort them by telling them who will now fulfill these duties.
Explain the Funeral Process
As soon as you finalize the funeral arrangements, explain them to your kids. Describe the basics of a wake, ceremony, and burial and how to behave during each part of the process. Give them plenty of time to ask questions and express their feelings, and encourage them to thank those who offer their condolences.
If your family is dealing with the loss of a grandparent, turn to the compassionate team at Lifetime Care in Rochester, NY. Founded in 1960, the organization provides home health care and hospice services, as well as support groups and bereavement programs for families mourning the loss of a loved one. If you’re interested in specialized care for a family member who is sick or grieving, call (585) 214-1000 to speak to a caring member of the team today. To learn more about hospice services or support groups in the Finger Lakes region, visit them online.