Chapter 6: Supporting children in their grief

Addressing misconceptions


These conversations are difficult. But they've actually brought us closer together, and I feel the kids now know that I'll include them when hard things are happening in our family.

Children may have misconceptions about the illness or the person who is ill, or about their parents or caregivers. 

Some impacts of caregiving can be similar to the symptoms of the disease. For example, as a caregiver, you might forget things, such as someone’s name, or misplace your keys. Or you might feel clumsy, dropping or bumping into things because you are tired or distracted. Children often notice these things and may worry that you have the same disease.

Even with very young children, you can ease this type of worry by giving simple, clear explanations.

Conversation prompts

“Your grandpa forgets things a lot because he has a disease called Alzheimer’s. That disease is mixing up his thoughts and memories. I don’t have that disease, but sometimes I forget things because my brain is working extra hard right now.”

“When I dropped that plate the other day, it was because I was distracted. It’s not because I’m sick, like your dad. It’s because I was thinking about something else and not paying attention.”

Helpful resources - Module 2: Talking about dying and death, Chapter 5 – What are the 4C’s