When your child has a friend or young cousin who experiences the loss of a loved one, here is a little guidance and coaching you can share with them.

  1. Encourage your kids to not shy away from their friend or family member because they don’t know what to say or do.
  2. Remind them of the importance of just showing up for the people you love when they are sad. Give them an extra hug or smile.
  3. Give them the words, which often times are the hardest things to find. For example, “I’m so sorry to hear your grandpa passed away.”  or “I am so sorry you are so sad.”
  4. Help your child think of an activity that they could do together with their friend or family member. Something that may take a few days or week that they can come back to together: building something out of Lego, an arts and crafts project, or a puzzle with a lot of pieces.
  5. For younger kids, suggest making a card or drawing a picture, which is a personal way of saying I love you.
  6. This is a good time to teach kids about giving. Thinking about what their friend or family member would really want that is specific and personal to them – maybe a puzzle, a book, a game. The important thing is they are thinking about the other person and what might put a smile on their face.
  7. It is hard for a child to come back to school after they have lost a loved one. Suggesting to your child that they can collect notes from classmates and teachers is a kind gesture that will go a long way to be there for the person who has experienced loss.
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