Activities to Help Kids Say Goodbye

November 17, 2015

Talking to children about death and dying is not an easy subject, however often necessary. The thought of sharing heartbreaking news feels like more than you can bear. Your instinct may be to shelter the child to make it less painful, but the truth is, there is no easy way to share sad news. However, there are ways to support children with compassion and honesty. It is important when being honest to use age appropriate details. Children can sense when people are not being honest with them. Take the time to explain the details of what is happening to their loved one in a way that they will understand. Use real words like dying and death or his body stopped working, to help kids understand the permanence of the situation. Let the child’s questions help to guide you in the conversation. There are also activities that you can do with your child to help remember and understand the dying process. Activities include:

  • Draw a tree on a large piece of paper. Have all family members place a handprint on the tree, including the dying family member. This will ensure that the child will always have a complete family tree, even when their special person has died.
  • Help your child write a letter of love to the dying person. This will help them to safely express their fears, guilt, anxiety and other emotions surrounding the dying process.
  • Create a memory box together. This can be created both when their special person is dying and further support a child after the death. Special memories and pictures can be placed in the box to support the grieving process.
  • Play with your kids. Kids learn and grieve through play. This is important because kids will often act out scenes to help them process what is going on in their life. By playing with them, they can share things with you they might not know how to express and you can see ways in which they might need support.

Lastly, let kids see you grieve. By expressing your own emotions in an appropriate way, children will learn how to grieve and know that it is okay to be feeling what they are feeling. If you ever need further support for you or your child, reach out to Tu Nidito. We are here to support these difficult conversations.

Written by: Lisa Robinson, Grants and Development Manager

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