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Supporting Your Child With Grief And Loss

On this page, you'll find information to help you support your child or  with grief and loss. We've also got advice about where you can find grief support services.

What is grief?

Losing someone we love and feel close to, or going through a bereavement, can be extremely painful. Grief is our natural response to this loss, and it is a process rather than an event.

Your child, as well as you and other family members, may be grieving because:

  • someone in the family has died, like a parent, grandparent or sibling
  • their friend or someone at school has died
  • they have lost someone by suicide
  • someone they are close to has become ill
  • a pet has died or been lost

Tips for talking about grief and loss

Explain what’s happened and what it means

When someone has died, tell them about this clearly using age-appropriate language. You can get advice to help you find the right words on the Winston’s Wish website.

Use clear language

Even though it can feel difficult, use direct words such as ‘died’ or ‘dead’. Avoid expressions such as ‘gone to sleep’ or ‘passed on’, as these can be confusing. 

Give space for them to ask questions  

Some children and young people might want to talk about what happens after we die. It’s okay to be curious about what they think, and to say you don’t have all the answers. You and your family might have your own religious and cultural beliefs about this, and you might want to talk about these together.

Focus on listening and empathising  

Be curious and non-judgmental about how they’re feeling. Avoid trying to ‘fix’ things. You won’t be able to make it all better, but being there to listen makes a huge difference.

Let them express whatever they’re feeling

Remind them that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. It’s completely understandable to feel however they do. If they are worried about feeling nothing or numb, reassure them that this is a normal reaction. It can be our body’s way of protecting us until we are ready to start processing what’s happened.

Make sure they know it isn’t their fault

Your child or young person might tell you they are blaming themselves, or you might be worried about this. Be very clear that while it’s normal to worry about this, it is absolutely not their fault or responsibility. No one is ever responsible for someone dying or getting ill.


If your child DOES NOT want to talk...

If your child or young person feels uncomfortable about talking, you could try starting a conversation while doing an activity. This can help them to relax by making it feel less like a ‘big chat’.


Click below to find further support and advice



Winston’s Wish provides support for children and young people following the death of a sibling, parent, or a person important to a child.




 If you need help around a death.

Advice and guidance for bereaved children, young people, their families and communities.







Young Minds 

Whether you want to understand more about how you're feeling and find ways to feel better, or you want to support someone who's struggling, Young Minds can help.