We naturally have the desire to protect our children from the hard things of life. But we all know that the hard things happen anyway. Children certainly need to grieve when they lose a loved one, not be sheltered from it. They may process information differently than adults, yet they are very capable of understanding that a person they loved deeply is no longer going to be part of their daily life. Children can be very profound, and resilient. As much as they need comfort and understanding, they also provide comfort and understanding to the adults in their lives at a time of loss. Even the littlest children are sensitive to the grief of those around them, although they might not be able to process the death themselves.
Although it can be uncomfortable to talk about death with children, remember, they are grieving too. Try to answer any questions accurately and honestly, without cliché. And don’t be afraid to simply say “I don’t know”. Try to listen and be empathetic without taking over their feelings, and be available for support as they express fears and fantasies.
Knollcrest is a family funeral home. Bob and Elaine raised their children here, and we continue this tradition as a staff by sharing lunch together nearly every day. Our family dining and coffee area was designed with children in mind. We encourage families to bring items that make their children feel more comfortable. We have coloring books, crayons, games, toys, DVDs, and other child-friendly items to help occupy our little guests when they feel a need to shift their attention during the course of a service. Their presence is important; we want them to feel that they have a place here.
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