The following information could help if your child has lost a loved one or if a loved one is dying.
If your child has a loved one who's dying
If a child has a loved one who's going to die, they can benefit from special support.
A child's stress level is often at its highest before bereavement because of fear and the unknown.
Pre-bereavement counselling gives a child a chance to think and talk about their feelings and share their worries.
Making a memory box
If you're a parent and you know you're going to die, you could make a memory box to give to your child or make one together.
A memory box contains things that remind you both of your time together. It can provide an important link between you and your child once you've gone.
Macmillan Cancer Support has information about making a memory box.
If a child has lost a loved one
Talk about the person who has died
During bereavement, it can help a child to talk about the person who's died, whether it was a grandparent, parent, brother, sister or friend.
It's important for them to have someone with whom they can talk about that person and share their emotions. This could be through photos, games, memory boxes or stories.
There are also bereavement charities that offer helplines, email support, and online communities and message boards for children.
- Child Bereavement UK – call 0800 028 8840 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cruse Bereavement Care – call 0808 808 1677 Monday and Friday, 9.30am to 5pm, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9.30am to 8pm, or email email@example.com
- Grief Encounter – call 0808 802 0111 Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hope Again – call 0808 808 1677 Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm, or email email@example.com
- Winston's Wish – call 0808 802 0021 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find out more about children and bereavement from the Childhood Bereavement Network
Make a memory box
If the person who's died did not leave a memory box, you could make one with your child.
It can include:
- shells collected on the beach
- memories written on a card
- anything that makes the child feel connected to that person
Page last reviewed: 15 January 2020
Next review due: 15 January 2023