During childhood, some children will experience the death of somebody they know, whether it is a close family member, grandparent or even a beloved pet. Today’s families are diverse and young children form close attachments to a variety of people. When someone close to the child dies, whether a family friend or close relative, the life impact can be equally significant.
Children and adults who are grieving are all different and there is a huge range of responses and reactions that bereaved people experience. It is important to realise that every child will move through this bereavement process in a different way. It is very important to know how to talk to, and support children who are about to experience, or who have experienced, a loss.
Sadly, approximately one in 25 children and young people have experienced bereavement of a parent or sibling. The death of a parent or sibling is one of the most fundamental losses a child will ever face, in some cases, the death will be sudden and in others, there is more time to prepare the child.
Supporting Bereavement in Early Years Settings
The Early Years Service offers advice and resources to settings so that they feel confident to support children and their families at this time. We offer advice to settings who experience the death of a child, or experience bereavements within their staff team or close community, and can signpost to other organisations who can offer more specific support.
Practitioners can ask for our help around any bereavement without feeling that it is too sensitive or too trivial and we aim to respond quickly to offer our support.
What kind of support is available?
- Discussion about the needs of the staff, children and families
- Advice or information for practitioners on strategies which may be helpful
- Advice on the management of grief and loss
- Loan of resources
- Signposting to other relevant organisations
Supporting families who have suffered a bereavement during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Cruse, a national bereavement charity, has a dedicated helpline manned by experienced volunteers. Call 0808 808 1677 Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when they’re open until 8pm.
Cruse also has a number of easy read fact sheets on: