Supporting bereaved children & their families in Kent

Holding On Letting Go

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How to help your children through the worries of Coronavirus

Published by Caroline, 26 Mar 2020

Many of the bereaved children we meet, are worried about someone else they know dying.
At the moment, they and other children, might be worried about coronavirus – and this is completely normal and logical…we are all worried and children pick up on this.

For a bereaved child, they may be thinking about someone else becoming ill, their remaining parent dying and wondering who will look after them, where will they live and can they take their belongings with them etc.
If someone in their family becomes ill, they will be worried about them dying.

In their world, death has happened once, so why wouldn’t it happen again?
Children who are bereaved through sudden death or through illness may be especially worried at the moment.
They will also have been impacted – off school, parents working from home, kept away from family, staying indoors…their lives have changed along with the adults.
They may also be picking up on anxiety from the grown-ups, so talk to them to find out their concerns.

Part of our work is to talk with them, hear their worries and help them to become less anxious and frightened.
Here is some advice from Debbie McSwiney and Emily Yates who support our families, to help you to support your children through their concerns.

TALK

  • Honestly and openly, in an age appropriate way, about their fears and anxieties.
  • Give factual, age appropriate information about Coronavirus and be led by their questions.
  • Don’t make promises but acknowledge concerns about loved ones dying.
  • Talk about how we can help each other stay safe.
  • Restrict access to media and social media coverage and balance time with other activities.

ISOLATION
How to help your child when they are isolated and bereaved and can’t be visited.

  • Pass on phone / text messages so they know people are thinking of them.
  • Talk about how you feel so they know they can talk about their feelings too.
  • Share memories about their special person.
  • Make a memory box.
  • Be generous with your understanding of their feelings.
  • Create a code between you so they can easily let you know how they are feeling.
    Create a list of things that will help them when they are struggling.
  • Give them space when needed but be ready for hugs too.
  • Allow opportunities for anger to be expressed safely.
  • Create some routine as best you can; it can be reassuring whilst everything else is disrupted.

RECENT BEREAVEMENT
If you can’t comfort someone who is recently bereaved, keeping in touch will help.

  • Use technology – phone, FaceTime, WhatsApp. Maybe you could help older relatives learn how to communicate in this way.
  • Draw a card or write them a letter.
  • Write a poem or send them a special song.
  • Keep in touch however you can and let them know you are thinking of them.

HOLG has stopped face-to-face contact but we are still available for phone calls, video calls and emails to help you or someone you know.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for help, advice and support.
All of our services are provided free of charge to those who need them.

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