10 Ways to Support a Grieving Child During the Holidays
“ Remember that your keiki don’t want their person to be forgotten:
they want that person to be remembered.”
As the holidays are upon us, we naturally turn our attention to the young ones among us who are grieving a special person at a time when the absence may be more deeply felt. Remember that your keiki don’t want their person to be forgotten: they want that person to be remembered. Don’t avoid topics because you fear being sad–it’s okay if tears come. You can model for your children that tears are ok, that they come and they pass. (No reason to get stuck on them or dwell on them! Rather, just allow them to be, however they are.)
Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:
1. Have a conversation with your keiki about the upcoming holidays. What are they experiencing without their loved one? What are they feeling? (What are you feeling?)
2. Have your child/teen write a holiday letter to the person who died in which the child/teen says whatever s/he would like to say. This letter would be private, not shared unless the child wishes.
3. Share your memories with family members of past holidays when your loved one was present. Perhaps do this around the dinner table, everyone taking a turn.
4. Create a ritual with your children if this appeals to all of you. Have the children participate in this creation. Perhaps your family had a ritual in the past, but now without that loved one, it may be appropriate to create a new ritual.
5. Make a photo book of past holidays with that person and put the book where everyone can access it easily.
6. Ask your child what the hardest thing is for him or her this year without their loved one present for the holiday.
7. Cook/bake favorite meals/dishes that your loved one enjoyed with you.
8. Make or buy a gift for your loved one and donate that gift to a charity or someone in need.
9. Perhaps your person had favorite music at this holiday time. If so, ask your children if they would like to hear it.
10. Ask your child what she/he is missing most without their person this holiday season. Ask also, what would help your child at this time.