The following is an excerpt from The National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC) Grief Talk: Talking to a Child or Teen to Let them Know Someone has Died.
Considerations For School-Age Children (7 – 12 years):
• Review the child’s understanding of the person’s decline in health, leading to their death.
• Use clear language. The finality of death is established during this stage; concrete direct language is essential.
• Answer questions. There may be questions on the details of the death; provide age-appropriate information.
• Ask the child how they want to participate: pick out flowers, help a sibling, walk the dog, create a photo collage, draw a picture to be placed in the casket, et cetera.
• Be truthful to maintain trust with the child. ‘I don’t know’ is better than incorrect information.
• Talk about self-care for when emotions get big; be an example of using coping techniques.
• Establish a support person as a go-to when a parent or caregiver isn’t available.
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