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Supporting your child in the early days after bereavement.

Supporting Your Child In The Early Days After Bereavement.

When hearing a loved one has died, you are likely to experience a range of feelings and emotions and these may change from day to day.

If your loved one has been ill for a long time, you may feel a sense of relief that your loved one is no longer suffering or in pain. Your body and thoughts may feel numb, or you may feel an overwhelming sense of emotions from shock to disbelief. Ultimately everyone experiences grief in a different way, there is no one way you should feel or how long you will feel it for.

Feelings you may experience when a loved one dies

You may at times experience intense emotions that can be frightening, including:

  • Shock and feelings of disbelief especially in the days after the death.
  • Deep sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Worries about mortality
  • Feelings of depression
  • Anger – you may feel outbursts of anger
  • Seeing, hearing or feeling the presence of your loved one who has died
  • A need to support others and supress your own grief

How Children’s grief differs

How we grieve as adults can often be different to that of our children, Children tend to do something referred to as ‘puddling jumping’, this is where they jump in and out of their grief. One moment, they could feel a deep sadness and the next they can be laughing and playing with friends.  This is normal and  it is important we allow children to grieve in their own way and understand that their way may be different to yours.

When the death of a loved one has not long occurred your child may not be ready to talk about their grief, but they may be experiencing lots of emotions that they find hard to communicate. It may be helpful to provide them with some tools to help them express how they are feeling and how they can help themselves when managing these emotions. These tools can also assist you with opening up conversations about a loved one and aid discussions. This could include a comfort box, emotion cards or a worry monster.

Practical things you’ll need to do when a loved one dies

When the death of your loved one has recently occurred, you may now have a lot of responsibilities and it can feel overwhelming to know where to start. You will need to:
  • Communicate the death
  • Register the death
  • Plan a funeral
  • Manage finances

If you need more information about any of these, please call our helpline.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

It is important to look after yourself, and it is ok to ask for help from those around you, whether it be friends, family or professionals. The types of help you may need may vary from being quiet practical such as cooking dinner, helping with the kids or cleaning to being a listening ear. Often friends and family want to provide support but are perhaps unsure of what best to do, so having a conversation and letting them know what support you might need and when can be beneficial.

You could also consider writing a list of who can help both now and in the future when you need it, for example;

  • A friend who can help with the food shopping or childcare
  • A family member who can help with house maintenance etc.
  • Professionals who can help provide guidance, support and information as required

We are here for you

For more guidance, support and information our helpline is open Monday – Friday, 9.30am – 12.30pm. Call 01342 313895 or email helpline@jigsawsoutheast.org.uk outside of these hours. There are also some emergency contacts if you need them, just click right here 

We help children and their families in Surrey, Sussex and Kent through the death of a loved one.

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