Supporting a child or young person who has been bereaved

Children and young people will grieve and experience bereavement just as adults do. A child or young person’s reaction to 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 bereaved child or young person, there are lots of sources of support available to you. 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.

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.

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

Support services:

Child Bereavement UK

Childline is available to help anyone under the age of 19 years 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

Glasgow City Youth Health Service

Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice

Richmond’s Hope

Winston’s Wish

  • phone 08088 020 021
    Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
  • visit Winston's Wish