We know Father’s Day can be an exceedingly difficult day for bereaved families. It can be hard to avoid the promotions on TV, social media and even in the supermarket, causing a painful reminder that your loved one won’t be there.
What to do on Father’s Day in these circumstances will be unique for every family. If you want to avoid the day entirely and switch off from social media, that’s completely understandable! Some people like to use it as a day of remembrance for their loved one. Whatever you decide, there are some steps you can take before and on the day to help support your child.
Ways to support your child on Father’s Day
Speak to your child’s school and find out in advance if they will be taking part in any activities to mark the day. Ask your child’s teacher to speak to your child in advance about any activities planned and give your child the choice to take part or opt out.
Find ways to remember. If it feels right for your child, they could make or write a Father’s Day card and fill it with their thoughts and memories of their dad. This could then be put in a memory box, by their grave or displayed at home.
Have a simple act of memorial. This could be lighting a candle, planting bulbs, making a favourite meal, baking a favourite cake, watching a favourite film, or going to a special place.
Take moments to remember. Your child does not necessarily need to spend a whole remembering their dad. This could be emotionally exhausting and difficult for them. Take small moments throughout the day, this may be easier for your children to manage.
Be kind to yourself. Do what feels right for you. This may mean a quiet duvet day or a day with friends and family. You will know what feel right for you and your child.
Consider possible triggers. You could choose to watch streamed TV so you can avoid adverts that may focus on Father’s Day or perhaps consider avoiding shops with Father’s Day displays.
Seek Support. Father’s Day can be a particularly hard day for bereaved dads too. For support to manage the day if you are a grieving dad then please contact us on our helpline.
10 ways to remember Dad this Father’s Day
1. Make a special Father’s Day card for your Dad.
2. Take the card to his grave – or to where his ashes were buried or scattered.
3. Blow some bubbles and imagine they can carry a message to them.
4. Plant some bulbs or a shrub in a place that holds special memories of your Dad – what was his favourite colour?
5. Have his favourite meal – Pizza? Roast dinner? Curry?
6. Listen to his favourite music – (however awful his taste was!)
7. Put something in a memory box or other special place in which to keep things that remind you of him – photos, shells etc.
8. Create a digital memory board of special photos or post a photo of them on social media.
9. Ask your Nan or Grandad for their memories of Dad as a little boy, and/or your Mum for her memories of when she and Dad met.
10. Write him a letter or a poem or a song. Maybe you could start with something like ‘If you came back for just 5 minutes, I’d tell you….’
For anyone struggling to cope this Father’s Day, our helpline is open Monday – Friday, 9am – 12pm. Call 01342 313895 if you need support or advice. We help children and their families in Surrey, Sussex and Kent through the loss of a loved one. There are also some emergency contacts if you need them, just click right here.