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.
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:
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.
- Child Bereavement UK
- Childline is available to help anyone under the age of 19 in the UK with any issue they are going through –big or small. Childline counsellors are trained staff and volunteers and all calls are free, even if you have no credit on your phone
- Visit: Childline
- Phone: 0800 1111 - opening hours may change during lockdown, please visit the site to check for up to date hours of availability and other ways you can get in touch.
- Glasgow City Youth Health Service
- Visit: NHSGGC Glasgow City Youth Health Service
- Phone: 0141 451 2727
- Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice
- Visit: Bereavement Support at Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice
- Phone: 0141 429 5599
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Richmond’s Hope
- Winston’s Wish
- Visit: Winston's Wish
- Phone: 08088 020 021 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)