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HELPING GRIEVING CHILDREN THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS

Here are some tips for helping a grieving child make the most of the holiday season:

  • Take care of yourself. Children take lead from the adults in their lives.

  • Talk about what is most important about the holiday and your family traditions. Try not to assume that you know what is most meaningful to your child. As always, children surprise us! Make a plan together.

  • Recognize that your child may need to be comforted as other children may make hurtful or thoughtless comments. Remind them that others often don’t understand what it’s like to have someone you love die.

  • Children are comforted by routine. Keeping traditions will help maintain some of the magic of the holidays and help your child feel more secure. If traditions will be changed or skipped this year, discuss this with them and ask for ideas of what they might like to do different.

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about the person who died. Remember him/her through memories and stories. What begins with tears often ends with laughter.

  • Just like you, your children are extra sensitive during this season. Give children permission to feel however they feel and explain that you may not be at your best. Be sure to tell them they are not the cause of your upset feelings, sadness or anger.

  • Be flexible. Place as few demands on yourself and the children as possible. What doesn’t work this year can be evaluated and changed as you plan for next year.

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Copyright 2012 The Austin Center for Grief & Loss
www.austingrief.org