It’s tough, but hard to escape – more children than usual will be bereaved in the next few months, or already have been. These bereavements may be made more complicated by isolation – children won’t be able to attend funerals, visit relatives who are dying and say goodbye, meet up with friends, go to support groups or counselling, and so on.
We’re hoping to have a webinar about supporting grieving children – to hear more, make sure you’re subscribed to Children’s Ministry News (email us to get added) or follow me on Twitter at @stalbanscme.
However, there are also many resources already available.
Child Bereavement UK offers a lot of support and help – I’ve linked directly to their page with videos and info sheets, which may be most immediately useful, but do explore their website to find out more.
Childhood Bereavement Network has lots of information and support, as well as cards
children can purchase and give to family members to tell them what they need, and how best to support that individual child. (There are also cards for children to give to friends/teachers/etc – these can be photographed and sent via email or social media, with parental supervision.) Some of the things on the cards can’t be done at this time, but others can still be done, or reworked.
I have a Pinterest board of good children’s books about death, dying, and grief. You could send the link to parents, or you could buy a book and have it shipped directly to a grieving child. I also used to buy notebooks and special pens for children in my church who had been bereaved. I told them they could use the notebook to write to the person who had died, or as a journal, or to scribble angrily or tear up pages if they needed to, or to draw, or in any way that would help them. It was their safe place.
The Diocese of Birmingham, with help from staff at hospices, has put together guidance on supporting children through loss and bereavement. Download it here: Supporting_children_through_loss_and_bereavement
Louise Warner, my counterpart in the Diocese of Leicester, has put together some ideas for how children can make memories, and remember someone who has died, at home. From making a memory box, to writing a prayer, to planting something, there are lots of great, practical suggestions. Download it here: Thinking about someone that has died
If you have your own resources, or ideas, or thoughts, please do let me know in the comments!