As a parent, you want to protect your child from pain in its many forms. However, when a loved one passes away, it’s important to help them work through the sorrow, so they can learn to process loss in a healthy way. If you’re unsure as to how to protect your little one after the passing of a loved one, use these tips before and after the funeral service.
3 Tips for Helping a Child Cope With Loss
1. Don’t Skirt Around the Truth
While you might be used to sugarcoating some information for your little one, death is an exception. For example, telling your child that their grandparent simply “went to bed” can be confusing, as well as make bedtime impossible. Instead, tell your child that they passed away, or that they went to heaven. While it might be hard for them to grasp at first, they’ll eventually come to terms with the truth in a healthier way, as well as respect you for being honest.
2. Consider Their Presence at the Funeral Service
For smaller children, such as those between the ages of 5 and 8, seeing a casket lowered into the ground and being told that their loved one is inside can be traumatic. As they get older, they’ll be able to differentiate between concepts like body and spirit, and they’ll understand that the burial or cremation is more of a symbolic act — their grandparent or uncle isn’t trapped inside the urn. Therefore, it’s important to weigh the maturity level of your child before taking them to the funeral. For older kids, the service may offer a comforting degree of closure.
3. Encourage Conversation
After the funeral service has come and gone, the hardest part of the mourning process begins. In the coming weeks, check in with your child every few days, and ask them if the death is bothering them. Even if they seem fine, they might still be harboring negative feelings that they’re hesitant to share. Ease into the conversation by mentioning your own feelings, such as how you thought of their grandparent when you passed by their home or made their favorite food. This will encourage your little one to open up about their own emotions, so you can validate them and move toward closure.
If you’ve recently lost a loved one, turn to Leo M. Bean And Sons Funeral Home of Rochester, NY. For over 40 years, they’ve been helping clients plan dignified funerals and memorial services for their loved ones. In addition to helping you pre-plan your own service, their compassionate staff can offer advice on how to help little ones cope with the passing of a friend or relative. To learn more about their services, visit the website or call (585) 426-7830.