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A person’s a person, no matter how small.

Dr. Seuss

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family hug

The Children’s Support Journey provides ongoing resources for children and adults. Created to support children of all ages, the Children’s Support Journey allows them to have the opportunity to remember their loved ones and learn as they grieve and grow. Additionally, the adults in the lives of these children receive resources and tools to help in their care and support.

The support resources include age-appropriate activities, grief support, opportunities to create memory-making keepsakes and Donor Hero Camp. The Children’s Support Journey includes email-based support, special support mailings and ongoing opportunities for remembrance.

To enroll a child in the Children’s Support Journey, please click here.

Children & Grief

What to Tell Children

Adults often try to protect children by sheltering them from information or participation in death rituals. What you choose to share with your children or the children in your family may vary depending on the age of the child, their prior experience with loss, their relationship to the deceased and the cause of death.

Generally, children need simple explanations of the truth. They can sense when adults are not being truthful, which can result in a loss of trust and the development of insecurities. It is better to tell them in simple terms that the person has died. If you show you are open about your feelings and are interested in their feelings, they will be more comfortable asking questions and expressing themselves. This is what they need in order to learn about death and feel protected.

During periods of grief, it is normal for children to revert developmentally. This will improve with time.

Withdrawal, problems in school, misbehavior, risk taking, appetite and sleep problems are normal in children after the death of a loved one. Children may also fear that remaining family members will abandon them or die as well. If these or other problems persist, it may indicate the child would benefit from professional help.

Special Circumstances of Death

Explaining suicide and murder to children requires thought. Honesty remains an underlying requirement. Anger toward the loved one is natural in suicide, and children should be told that feeling angry does not mean they did not love the person. Older children will probably seek a more detailed explanation, which can be appropriately provided.

The explanation of murder to a child should be as simple as possible regarding who did it and why, if known. A suggestion for explaining the murder of a loved one is, “A terrible thing happened over which we had no control.”

family walking


family talking

Words that can Help

Offering support to a grieving child can begin with a simple statement or open-ended question. Here are some conversation starters:

Words that can Hurt

The following are a few of the potentially harmful comments often offered to children grieving the loss of a parent: