Supporting your child when someone dies

How to talk to your child and get further help and support

Practical help and support to help you and your child

Practical and emotional advice to support your child when someone dies

Supporting your child when someone dies 474

When you have lost someone through death, a partner, child, family member or friend, it may seem overwhelming to offer support to your child. The loss experienced will have changed everything and each family member will be trying to make sense of what has happened in their own way. Children and young people may need some help with this:

  • Try to talk to your children honestly and explain what has happened in a way that they can understand. They need information and reassurance.
  • Try to talk to the children about the funeral. Including them and giving them choices will help them to remember and say goodbye.
  • Talk about the person who has died - include your children in remembering.
  • How children grieve will depend on their age and their understanding of events.
  • Your children’s grief may be shown in behaviour and they may be distraught one minute and playing happily the next.
  • Inform the school about the child’s loss.
  • Trust your instincts as a parent and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
  • It’s OK for you and your children to feel sad, angry, confused, empty, guilty, anxious and many other emotions – and it is OK if you don’t.

Further help

  • Child Bereavement Network - Can signpost to local and national support services
  • Winston’s Wish - For grieving children and their families 08088 020 021
  • Cruse Bereavement Care – Helpline 0808 808 1677 
  • The Way (Widowed and Young) Foundation - Social network for young widows and widowers and their children
  • Child Bereavement Trust - Information for bereaved families and helpline: 0800 028 8840

After the death of a child:

  • Child Death Helpline - For anyone affected by the death of a child 0800 282 986
  • The Compassionate Friends - Support for parents and families when a child has died 0345 123 2304

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Bounty is proud to bring you this information in partnership with Family Lives is a charity with over three decades’ experience helping parents to deal with the changes that are a constant part of family life.  

Comments on this article are monitored but NOT answered. However, Family Lives has extensive advice on their website, live chat services, and information about befriending services and parenting/relationship support groups.  There is also a helpline and an online community forum offering a safe space for families to share dilemmas, experiences and issues with others who understand the ups and downs of family life.

Supporting your child when someone dies