Do Toddlers Grieve?

Children and adolescents grieve in their own way according to their unique developmental timeline. It can be challenging for parents and adults to understand their children’s grief reactions and how to best support them. This discussion group will feature topics that relate to supporting children and teens in managing the big feelings of grief.

Do Toddlers Grieve?

Postby dscowan » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:12 pm

Do toddler’s & pre-schoolers grieve? They sure do. Here are some tips for helping younger children:
Use simple, direct language
Don’t “protect child from truth” but use good judgment in how to tell about the death
Give yourself time to talk to child and time for child to ask questions
Let child show feelings. Accept their process – don’t pressure them to “get over it”
Explain that when people die, they don’t eat, sleep or breathe
Reassure child that you will be there for them. Ask: What can I do to help?
Keep child’s life as normal as possible
Find ways to help child connect to deceased person: draw pictures, have pictures available, etc.
Share your feelings
Each child’s behavior is the best solution they have for a problem at the moment
Reassure them that they can cope with this and they won’t forget their loved one
Remind them they can remember their loved one and grow up, learn things, have fun, etc.
Remember support, nurturance, and opportunities for creative play and stability are essential building blocks for a child’s development
Please share what you have found helpful for your toddler.
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Re: Do Toddlers Grieve?

Postby d_butler » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:40 am

Toddlers and pre-school age children often seem unaffected by the death of a loved one. This age group tends to ask repeated questions and revisit the topic when an adult or something reminds them of the deceased. It is important to remember that they do not understand the finality of death. Ask questions, read books and play with your child to see what they know and what needs to be addressed. Share your thoughts and feelings with them in an age appropriate manner. It is okay to say "I don't know". Children in this age group benefit from maintaining their daily routines and supporting them through their grief process as they transition through each developmental stage.
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Re: Do Toddlers Grieve?

Postby d_butler » Tue May 19, 2015 12:06 pm

Toddlers and preschool age children try their best to understand death. They tend to ask several questions repeatedly and can't quite understand the finality of death. It is best to read, play and revisit the topic of death frequently with children within this age group once a death has occurred. Allow them to express their concerns openly. Use age appropriate language when discussing the events surrounding their loved one's death. Avoid using terms such as; their loved one went to sleep, passed away or is in a better place. Using these terms will only confuse toddlers and preschool age children. Explain that their loved one's body doesn't work anymore and allow them to freely express what that means to them. Continue to validate your child's feelings and follow their lead. Revisit the topic when needed or prompted by the child.
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