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  • The truth about what has happened at a developmentally appropriate level.

  • As normal a routine as is possible under the circumstances – structure helps children to feel safe and in control.

  • An opportunity to remember – share memories with others.

  • A listening ear and willingness to listen to the child’s story of loss over and over and over again – if it’s too hard for the parent, allow another trusted adult to support the child in this way.

  • Usually children need a little extra touching and holding during these times.

  • Permission to feel whatever they feel – even permission to feel happy – It’s hard to do this when you live in a household that is sad. Be intentional about giving your child permission to take breaks from their grief.

  • Physical exercise and outlets to release the anxiety and tension of the grief.

  • Opportunities to do things they do well and feel really good about – self-esteem often suffers during grief. Lots of rest. Grief is exhausting even for children and adolescents.

  • Information about the changes that are or will be happening as a result of this loss.

  • A chance to tell you what they need.

  • Friends who will treat them just like they did before this happened.

Copyright 2012 The Austin Center for Grief & Loss
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