Chapter 2: What can I do?

Supporting children

My eight-year-old son and his grandfather are very close. I'm so worried that he will be traumatized if he sees his grandfather as sick as he is now.

If you have young children, you may wonder how to talk with them about the death of someone close.

Involve your children as much as they wish. If they want to visit the dying person, let them know what to expect. Tell them about the hospice or hospital and how the person will look.

Icon of a physicianIf you don’t know what to say to your child, ask a health care professional if they have experience in this area and can help.

You can further help them in these ways:

  • Try to keep daily schedules and routines.
  • Tell your child’s school so that teachers and counsellors can be supportive.
  • Remember that children often grieve in small, short periods of intense grief followed by play and regular activity.
  • Remember that children may revisit their grief. This is normal and healthy.
  • Reinforce the three Cs:
    • “Someone will be there to care for you after the death.”
    • “The disease is not contagious.”
    • “You did not cause the illness.”