The importance of talking to children about death and dying

Children cannot be protected from death. They are faced with loss and death all the time. At an early stage children can form their own beliefs about death and it is important to talk about this so that they do not feel isolated and myths are tackled effectively. It is much better for children to have open conversations in regards to death, bereavement and loss so that they gain better understanding and can ask questions in their own time.

The Reflect Counselling Service at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd supports children and young people who have been bereaved, regardless of the place or cause of death, and those who have close family members living with an advanced progressive illness.  They recommend that children who are grieving need the following:

  • Empathy
  • Structure and stability
  • Minimal disruption
  • An opportunity to make sense of what has happened and tell their story
  • Clear, age appropriate information about what has and what is happening now
  • To be included
  • Reassurance
  • Adults who will answer questions and share their feelings
  • An opportunity to remember the person that died
  • Time to process, heal and experience the grief in their own way

For further information contact the Reflect Team on 01244 851104 or visit the following websites:

Winston’s Wish

Child Bereavement UK

 NHS choices – Dealing with grief and loss & Coping with Bereavement