Some of our fondest childhood memories often stem from spending time with our grandparents. Whether it is the week during summer vacation, over the holidays or even living with them for part of your childhood doesn’t matter. Grandparents make an impact on children in many ways. Sadly there are many who have to face death too early. Helping Kids Deal With Loss Of A Grandparent is not something you want to know how to handle, but sadly could be a truth in your life. We hope that these suggestions help ease the grief your child is feeling.
Don’t Hide The Truth: For children the concept of a person “going away” means that they will come back again. Even the youngest children understand the concept of permanent and never. Don’t hide the truth by telling your child that grandma or grandpa is just sleeping, has gone away for awhile, or is on a long vacation. Be truthful and let them know that their grandparent will not be coming back. While young children may not fully understand death, they can understand losing something forever. Help them to understand that in this case, there will be no returning grandparent.
Do Something To Memorialize Them: Perhaps a trip to a former vacation spot, a special plaque, ornament or picture to hang in your home, or simply a personal small family memorial where your children can talk openly without strangers in attendance would help. Rather than trying to pretend this didn’t happen, choose to be open and do something to memorialize the lost grandparent.
Keep Them Busy: Often the best way to get past the initial pain and sadness is with distraction. You don’t want to ignore their grief or overlook it, but you can negate some of the bad days by keeping your family going. If there was a special day each week your child spent with their grandparent, give a short time of leaving that day or time empty before bringing in something different. Encourage your child to reach out to friends for play time, or perhaps take an art class or something similar that they can use as an outlet for their feelings.
Get Counseling: While most children who lose a grandparent bounce back quickly, there are many instances where it is a very traumatic and unexpected event. Professional counseling is truly an amazing way of handling these situations. Do not hesitate to reach out to your physician or your pastor for recommendations on a local to you children’s counselor to help your child with his or her grief.
The grief process is the same no matter what your age. There are multiple stages to process and navigate through. While you deal with your own grief, don’t forget that your child will be feeling similar pain. Make sure to show plenty of love during this time, and always be open and ready to listen when they need to share their feelings.