Children & Bereavement

When a loved one had died, it is difficult enough for us as adults to come to terms with what has happened and to try to make sense of it all, let alone having to deal with the different emotions we may be going through. So how do we prepare and explain to our children what has happened?
As adults we want to protect them and shelter them, but grief affects ALL of your family. We may think that children are resilient to death, but they have emotions too, which at this very sad time they also need to express.

You know your children better than anyone, and depending on their age, you will know the right level of language to use that they will best understand. Your children may have already experienced a death in your family; maybe they have had a pet who has died. Think back to how you explained this and what you did, how you involved your children.

It is OK for your children to see you upset. Children learn by what they see and hear, and seeing you upset can help them with their own emotions.

Talk to your children, answer their questions, be there to support each other, go through your grief together.

There are things you can do to help you at this time which can be beneficial to both you and your children. You could make a Memory Box where you can put anything special in that reminds you of your loved one. Things like a photograph, a lock of hair, a little book where you can write down your thoughts, a letter, a picture that you have drawn, their favourite perfume or aftershave.

You could plant a tree or a favourite plant of your loved one in the garden which may become a place for reflection.

You could make a Memory Book where all of your precious memories can be written down like……..’do you remember when we went to the beach where we .…….’

Your children’s school can play a huge part in helping support you and your children. Do not be afraid of asking.

One of the biggest questions you may ask yourself is ‘Should I let my children go to the funeral?‘. What happens around the time of your loved one’s death, those memories will stay with you forever…… is the same for your children.

Remember: Be honest with your children, answer their questions, keep talking to each other and never forget that your loved one will always be part of your family.


‘Waterbugs and Dragonflies’
by Doris Stickney

Winston’s Wish:

Child Bereavement UK:

When a baby or child dies

We tend to think that when we hear that someone has died, we are talking about an adult, but unfortunately in some cases that is not always so. As parents you have dreams, plans and aspirations for the future, but when your baby or child dies, you grieve for those dreams, plans and aspirations too. There may also be grandparents and siblings in your family who will also be grieving for their future they would have had shared with their grandchild or brother or sister.

As parents, our role is naturally to protect our children and when they die you may start to question yourself, thinking that this must be your fault, that you could have done something to prevent this from happening, and these feelings and thoughts are completely natural, even though irrational. This is part of the grief that you and your family will be going through.

As a grandparent, not only will you be grieving for your grandchild, but you will also be grieving for your own daughter or son, having to see them go through their own pain and grief.

Any baby (that has breathed, even if only for a moment, despite gestation) or child under the age of 18 years old, has to be reported to the H.M. Coroner. This will be done by either a hospital doctor, a midwife or by your General Practitioner (GP). This is a Safeguarding legal requirement, irrelevant of natural causes of death.

When you are ready to, you will need to think about the funeral arrangements. You can either contact a Funeral Director of your choice or the hospital may offer you a funeral service.

This decision is completely yours and you need to make sure you are making the right decisions for you, your family, but most of all for your baby or child.

Child Bereavement UK:     
(Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Charity)

If your baby has breathed, even for a moment, then you will need to arrange to register both their birth and their death. This is usually done at the same time. If your baby is over 24 weeks gestation and was stillborn, you will need to register the death. This can either be arranged for you to register at the hospital or at your local Register Office. Your midwife or hospital Bereavement Team will advise you on this.

Registering a Stillbirth: