No matter their age, it is always tragic for a child when a parent or other significant person dies. It is particularly difficult because so few people know how to accompany a grieving child, and so few of their peers have any experience or wisdom to draw on to help.
These are two recently published books for young children that you can add to those already listed in our book, No Longer Awkward: Communicating with Clients During the Toughest Times of Life.
Sammy’s Story by Erica Sirrine is a tenderly written, brief, read-aloud book for children ages 3-7 who are anticipating a parent’s death. Colorfully engaging illustrations accompany the text, which honestly conveys the likely sequence of a life-threatening illness. In addition to concepts about illness, dying, and death, the book addresses the complex subject of helping the bereaved child maintain a continued bond with a parent following the death.
Sad Isn’t Bad: A Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing with Loss by Michaelene Mundy is a helpful and hopeful workbook aimed at children ages 4 - 8. It gives images and language to describe their experience and guides them to recognize and cope with the losses in their lives in healthy ways. Parents and grandparents will benefit from working through the book with them.
Another wonderful resource is Camp Kangaroo. This camp, created by Seasons Hospice Foundation, brings together children who have recently experienced the death of a loved one so they can share their grief in a safe and supportive atmosphere, learn that they are normal, and build friendships with other grieving kids, all combined with fun camp activities. It is the only national bereavement camp of its kind based in psychotherapy and creative arts therapy. Kids learn effective coping strategies that will serve them for life and find new meaning following the death of their loved ones. The camps are free for most attendees, being supported entirely by donations. You can learn more, including the locations of the camps in various states, on their website. You may also wish to have your firm sponsor a camper and encourage clients to do so as well.
Recommend these resources to your clients to help kids heal at a time when they need it the most.