Supporting a child or young person who has been bereaved

Children and young people will grieve and experience bereavement just as keenly as adults. A child or young person’s reaction to grief and a bereavement may differ depending on the age of the child or the relationship they had with the person who has died.

If you are looking after a child or young person who has been bereaved, there are lots of sources of support available to you and you do not need to face it alone. You may also be grieving yourself and it will be important to look after yourself too.

  • There is no one way to support a grieving child, but in general it might be helpful to:
  • Be clear and honest and tell them of the death in an age appropriate way
  • Provide reassurance that the child is not to blame and the death was not their fault
  • Keep routines as much as possible, and be available emotionally and physically for the child
  • Take time to talk about what has happened, what is happening and about the person who has died. This will help the child process what has happened
  • Listen to the child –allow them to express themselves in a way that is suitable for them and let them know that feeling sad, scared angry or something else – is normal and ok

You might also want to reach out to the child or young person’s Nursery, School or Further Education establishment to let them know someone important to the child or young person has died and to ask what support they can offer you.

Further information

Child Bereavement UK has information, guidance and support available for supporting children and young people and children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities.

Other useful resources include:

Information for bereaved children with ASD

Bereavement and Learning Disabilities - A Guide of Carers

Resources for people with learning disabilities

Marie Curie have designed “Easy Read” booklets which can be accessed by downloading or requesting copies free of charge.

Support services: