Supporting your child when someone dies

When you have lost someone through death, a partner, child, family member or friend, it may seem overwhelming to offer support to your child. The loss experienced will have changed everything and each family member will be trying to make sense of what has happened in their own way. Children and young people may need some help with this:

  • Try to talk to your children honestly and explain what has happened in a way that they can understand. They need information and reassurance.
  • Try to talk to the children about the funeral. Including them and giving them choices will help them to remember and say goodbye.
  • Talk about the person who has died - include your children in remembering.
  • How children grieve will depend on their age and their understanding of events.
  • Your children’s grief may be shown in behaviour and they may be distraught one minute and playing happily the next.
  • Inform the school about the child’s loss.
  • Trust your instincts as a parent and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
  • It’s OK for you and your children to feel sad, angry, confused, empty, guilty, anxious and many other emotions – and it is OK if you don’t.

Further help

After the death of a child:

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How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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