Grief and bereavement are undoubtedly stressful for adults, yet you must also think about the impact of such issues on kids. If they are younger, they may not wholly understand what has happened, let alone why it has happened, and this can cause significant issues with stress that could easily impact their self-esteem and overall wellbeing. As a parent, teacher, older sibling, or mentor, you need to know how to guide them so that they do not feel overwhelmed by feelings that may be unfamiliar and stressful.
Make Them Feel Safe
If your kids understand what death is, even if they don’t necessarily get why it happens due to their age, there’s a chance they can feel scared and even unsafe when coping with grief. This can cause severe amounts of stress, which will not be good for them or you.
Because of this, you must make them feel as safe as possible. Encourage dialogue whenever they feel comfortable and give them plenty of kisses and cuddles. Doing so will provide a sense of security, making them feel safer, even in the face of grief.
Be a Model Of Calm
The more stress you show, the more stressed your kids will feel. You should do everything you can to avoid this, and while it can be challenging, you must be a model of calm. Your kids will look to you for how to act, and while there’s no need to be a robot, you must keep cool when talking to your kids.
It’s important to do this even when you are not speaking to them, so even if they are in the room, try to keep a level head. Of course, this is easier said than done, but try to keep this solution in the back of your mind and be careful of what you say and how you say it.
If they have older siblings, you need to pass this information onto them and create a more consistent environment within the home.
Maintain (And Develop) Routines
Routines will make your kids feel like everything is as close to normal as possible. Sudden deaths and traumatic events can disrupt your routine, and this could cause your children stress.
Keeping routines can be as simple as having regular meals and maintaining the family rules. You can also consider creating new routines that can help them grieve and cope. After enough time has passed, take your kids to visit the grave or burial site to pay respects. If your child finds this uncomfortable, pictures for grave markers can make the experience easier to cope with, as it will give them something to remember the deceased by.
You should also allow them to have fun. Let them spend time with friends, which will distract their feelings and prevent their emotions from taking over.
Whether a relative, friend, or family pet, the death of a loved one is understandably hard for everybody involved, but it can have a serious impact. With the right approach and guidance, you can ensure they can cope better and maybe even understand more clearly.