Helping Children Overcome Grief During the Holiday Season
Advice and tips for parents for helping children overcome grief during the holiday season.
The holidays are supposed to be a time of unbridled joy for children. Sadly, if a child has experienced a loss, the holidays can be an extremely difficult period.Family traditions during the holiday season can be sad reminders to children as memories rush back. Holiday presents, Santa Claus visits and the “magic of the season” can sometimes do only little to ease the grief of a child during this hectic time of the year.
A representative on behalf of Angela Hospice of Livonia sent some advice for parents for helping children overcome grief during the holiday season. Rebecca DeRaud, a bereavement specialist for Angela Hospice of Livonia, offers these tips to help parents:
- Honesty is the best policy. Answer any and every question as honestly (and age appropriately) as possible. “Protecting” your children makes them create their own version, which is often scarier than what really happened.
- Ask questions and be ready to listen to the answers.
- Never shy away from talking. Leave the door open.
- Recognize that it is okay for the child to cry. Don’t shy away from remembering the person lost, simply to avoid the emotion behind the loss.
- Children need to know their feelings are validated. Also, be honest about your own feelings.
- Give children choices for what they would like to do to celebrate the holiday, even if that means changing or maintaining family traditions. Ask them how they would like to celebrate, or if they want to celebrate at all.
Angela Hospice offers free workshop for grieving children on Sunday, December 14, 2014 from 2p-4p.
“Children experience feelings of grief similar to those of adults after a loved one dies, but they may not have the words or the understanding to express their feelings,” said Sally Loughrin, an Angela Hospice social worker with over 30 years of experience in counseling grieving children.
Loughrin will host Angela Hospice’s children’s holiday workshop, where participants will have the opportunity to craft a special holiday wreath in memory of a loved one. While encouraging participants to incorporate memories of their loved one into the holiday season and into their lives in a new way, the workshop also helps by normalizing the children’s feelings of grief.
The Children’s Holiday Workshop, for ages 5 to 12, will be held at the Angela Hospice Care Center located at 14100 Newburgh Road in Livonia. Supplies will be provided, but participants
are encouraged to bring photos or other decorations that have special meaning to them, to include in their project. Pizza and cookies will be served for the children and their parents/guardians as well.
The workshop is free, but registration is required as space is limited. To register, call Sally Loughrin at (734) 464-2683.
For more information about Angela Hospice’s grief support programs, including a complete list of support groups, visit AskForAngela.com, or call (734) 464-7810.
14100 Newburgh Rd
Photo Credit_ Angela Hospice
Photo Caption: Trevor Pavlik shows the wreath he made in memory of his great-grandmother to Angela Hospice social worker Sally Loughrin.
About Angela Hospice Home Care
Established in 1985, Angela Hospice Home Care, Inc., is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, operated by the Felician Sisters of Livonia, Michigan. Angela Hospice Home Care, Inc., is State Licensed, Medicare/Medicaid certified, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan approved, and accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Program. Angela Hospice Home Care, Inc., is a member of the National Association for Home Care, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and Michigan Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.