There are no words for the pain of losing a loved one. The death of a loved one will leave you a scar that you will carry forever. It will be more difficult for kids to deal with loss and grief. Here are some helpful strategies you can consider to help a child understand death and losing a loved one:
Prepare your comforting words
The first thing kids need to hear is a reassurance that there is someone who understands their pain. Give them your comforting words and let them know that you are there for them and they are not alone in this painful event.
Use simple words in explaining
When breaking the news, use words that a small kid can understand. Simplify the conversation in such a way that it is easier for words to sink in. You need to be careful with the words that you will be using. The pain is inevitable, but you can always soften it with the right words.
Let them know about the rituals to be done
Before the funeral takes place, let them know about how things are to be done. This way, the kid will not be overwhelmed seeing people crying and doing things that are new to their eyes. Let them know about what will happen, and explain the importance of every ritual.
Listen to what the kid has to say
Let the kid talk about what he or she feels. Let their emotions pour out. Listen and try to understand. This is the best way for you to know how to deal with what the kid feels.
Give the kids something to do during the funeral
It is very important for the child to know that he or she has a role. You can give them a simple task to do; placing flowers or a picture. This will help them understand better and will help them know what is happening.
Talk about the person
Let them know that even if you have lost the family member, the memory of the person should never be gone. Help the child remember the good things the person did when he or she was still alive.
Give them activities to help in coping
After the funeral, the pain totally sinks in. This is the time when kids will really feel the absence of the person who just passed away. Help them cope by giving them activities to fill their days.
Give time for healing
Try to understand that it is not easy for the kids to deal with loss and grief. Give them time to heal. There will be days when the kid will suddenly feel sad, be there for comfort.
It may be difficult for kids to deal with grief and loss. But with the help of adults, it will be easier to go through this painful phase in life.