A loss of a friend or family member leaves kids grieving, even if they aren’t sure how to express that grief. There is no way to take away the pain, but when you offer love, support and comfort, it gives a grieving child a feeling of safety and security. A gift is an option for showing the child you care. Certain gifts might also be beneficial for the child as she works through the grieving process.
A children’s book about death or grieving puts the process in a format a child can relate to. Several books that deal with the topic in different ways and with different ages in mind have been written. Some books offer more straightforward, informational text about death, while others use child-friendly characters and tell more of a story. A few titles to consider include “I Miss You” by Pat Thomas, “Help Me Say Goodbye” by Janis Silverman, “The Dragonfly Door” by John Adams and “When Dinosaurs Die” by Laurie Krasny Brown. Check with a local book store for additional suggestions.
Journal or Memory Book
A journal or memory book gives older kids a place to write down their memories of the person they lost. They might also use the book to process their feelings of grief and sadness. Book stores often sell memory books with writing prompts that might help the child capture things he wants to remember about the person who passed away. Younger children could use a blank journal to draw pictures to express their feelings.
A keepsake item related to the person who passed away gives the child a tangible reminder of the relationship. A framed photo of the child and the person he lost is one example of a keepsake item. A locket or other piece of jewelry is a keepsake gift the child can wear every day to feel closer to the deceased person. If you have clothing items from the person who passed away, you can make a quilt from the fabrics. Seeing the fabric on the quilt helps the child remember the person he lost.
Art projects give a grieving child an activity to help take her mind off the situation. Some children are able to express their feelings of sadness in a painting or other form of artwork. Provide the child with a basket full of various art supplies, such as paint, paintbrushes, construction paper, glue, scissors, clay and stickers. A basket full of other hobby-related items is also an option. For example, if the child is a science buff, fill a basket with science experiment kits, a magnifying glass and a few books about science.