Helping young children through bereavement

Today I want to share how we helped my (just) five year old cope with the death of his grandfather. My son was full of questions when his grandad passed over, questions about heaven and where Grandad was now and whether he would see us again etc. All the questions I have spiritual beliefs about but might not have been able to answer simply enough for my 5 year old to process!

But alongside the questions M was also keeping a lot of his sadness inside, and this manifested with some naughty behaviour at school. To tell a five year old that someone is gone forever… I think that’s a really difficult concept to understand and M naturally dealt with things the only way he could, by showing his confusion through actions that would get the emotions out.

So we told am M he could share his memories of Grandad with a plant that Grandad gifted us many years ago. We told him that he could talk about his sadness too, but that the happier the memories he could share, the more the plant would grow. M took this suggestion on board and began going over to the plant whenever he thought of something new to tell.

This plant has never flowered before, but look at it after 3 months of memories! (And possibly a little luck that it is flowering season!)

My son is convinced Grandad is sending him flowers from heaven, and is still talking to the plant whenever he needs to. It has been a lovely way of allowing M to have a connection with grandad whilst also focusing on happy memories rather than confusion or sadness.

My 7 year old wasn’t interested in the plant so much and dealt with things in a very different way but if you’ve got a child under 5 who is struggling to understand the concept of saying goodbye, a memory plant is a beautiful way of helping them through it 🙂

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