Helping Children Remember Loved Ones
Children, and their parents, often worry that they will forget things about loved ones who have died. But after a death there are many ways that children and families can remember loved ones. Discussing the loved one after death, creating a scrapbook of a loved one, celebrating a loved one’s birthday and observing the anniversary of a loved one’s death can all be ways that children remember friends or relatives who have passed away.
Discussing A Loved OneSometimes children think that they should not discuss loved ones who have died, for example because it might make others sad. But if loved ones aren’t talked about it can be hard for children to remember them. Discussing loved ones both formally and informally, on particular dates or in everyday conversation, in passing and as the subject of conversation, can all help children remember them. If others find it too hard to discuss the deceased friend or relative then it could be a signal that family or individual grief counselling is needed.
Creating A Scrapbook Of A Loved OneChildren may find it hard to recall what a deceased friend or relative looks like, wrote like, what activities (s)he enjoyed or what activities they engaged in together.
Creating a scrapbook of the deceased could help jog their memory. In fact, creating a scrapbook together can be an act of remembrance, and looking it on particular dates or times (before bed, when someone’s feeling particularly sad, etc.) may help children feel as if they have greater control over their lives and emotions. Scrapbooks can be as creative as those making them want them to be, so there is no reason to limit them only to pictures. Cards, fabric, writing samples, buttons, stickers and more all have a place in scrapbooks.
Celebrating A Loved One’s BirthdayIn the first year after a loved one’s death it can be hard to hold little ceremonies of remembrance, but children often enjoy observing a birthday or another day that held special meaning to the deceased. Nothing formal must be done on these days, but some children find it helpful to bake their loved one’s favourite birthday cake, buy his or her favourite flowers, decorate with his or her favourite colours or otherwise remember their friend or relative on this day.
Observing A Loved One’s AnniversaryObserving the anniversary of a loved one’s death can be hard for families. Young children in particular might see it as a sad day, but it does not have to be. Families can choose to spend the day however they choose, for example remembering a loved one by doing something that (s)he enjoyed. Religious services might also be a part of observing a loved one’s anniversary.
Children may have a hard time remembering a loved one who has passed away, but there is much that adults can do to help them. Discussing the loved one, putting together a scrapbook, celebrating his or her birthday and celebrating his or her anniversary are all ways by which children may better remember a deceased loved one.