There are many sayings about apples, such as an apple a day or the apple of my eye, that everyone knows but have you may not have heard “an apple is to remember.” Planting a tree to help remember someone special can be a very meaningful way to honor them and help young children cope with grief.
Today, my friend Tara Kennedy-Kline at Parent Nation (parentnationradio.com) wrote:
Allowing kiddos to mourn and grieve and laugh and reminisce in their own way, in their own time, is vital to helping them grow into empathetic and emotionally healthy adults.
When we dictate when they should cry and for how long, and when we feel that laughing or telling stories is unacceptable…we stifle their process and hijack their feelings. Let them see you handle grief in your way, and support them to grieve in theirs. It will bring you closer and make them stronger than you ever imagined.
The grief process can be much different for children than for adults. For one thing, kids may not understand what is happening and be upset and confused. Kids may not have the words to tell us how they are feeling, so they express themselves in other ways, such as their behavior. This might be challenging and kids may need lots of reassurance. It’s difficult to know how much information is the right amount to give them.
There are books that we can read to them, such as Where Are You? A Child’s Book About Loss by Laura Olivieri or The Fall of Freedie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia. The book Max the Happy Butterfly by Kathy Archibald Anderson tells the story of a caterpillar called Max who dies. The butterfly Max flies to the top of a majestic tree.
Helping children cope with grief is not easy. Can you recommend any other resources?