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How to help child cope with death of a grandparent

The journey of life has its share of ups and downs. Through the moments of joy we all evidently have to face the pain of loss by the death of our loved ones. Any death is a traumatic moment and is emotionally devastating. But the effects of death on a kid are a lot worse. Since they lack the maturity of an adult and the proper realization of the idea of death, it is very difficult for them to come to terms with it. The loss of grandparents is one of the worst moments for a kid and here is how you can help your child cope with death of a grandparent.

 Some important tips to help child cope with death of a grandparent

  1. Instill the concept through movies:grandson-with-grandfather.jTalking to children about death can be extremely difficult a task and this dreaded task can be made a little easier if you take the route of animated movies and cartoons. These often have the most simplistic yet realistic portrayals of death and while watching the movie you can guide your child as to understanding what exactly death is like. However in this regard try avoiding films that are too sad or have a tragic ending because it can leave your child really upset and your target is to help child cope with death of a grandparent.
  2. Make them understand reality through biological concepts: Kids are almost always extremely attached to their grandparents. But in case of their deaths you should avoid baby talking them out of the situation. For instance you should avoid saying that grandmother has gone to sleep and would never again wake up. Such statements often instill a fear regarding actions such as sleeping. To help child cope with death of a grandparent, give them the exact concepts like grandmother had an ailing heart which finally stopped working and she died. This may be an initial shock for your child but they definitely take such news better in the long run.
  3. Explain the permanence of death:
    death of a grandparentWhen grandmother has died, many parents choose to take the short route out while explaining the situation to their kids. They say things like grandmother is lost and once she finds the way she will be back. By doing these however you are not helping at all. Your child keeps expecting that grandmother will be back someday till the time they finally understand the reality which then is like a rude shock.
  4. Let them be a part of the last rites: We understand that you want to help kid cope with grief, but shielding them all the while would do no good. Let her or him participate in the last rites of their grandparent from the funeral to other associated ceremonies. This will help them to get a closure on the subject and will be a helpful thing for them to move on. However remember to not force them if they are unwilling to go along. The participation in the last rites should be completely voluntary.
  5. Let them express their emotions:Let them express their emotionThe better your child can express himself the better it will help child cope with death of a grandparent. So teach them that it is completely okay to cry or break down. It is also absolutely fine to feel emotions such as anger towards the fact that they would never see their grandparents anymore. The expression of their feelings should be just as it comes naturally and that would help them get used to the harsh reality with time.
  6. Alleviate their fears: If you are talking to children about death, make sure that any fears that they might have are duly addressed. For instance after the death of grandparents it is common for the kids to fear if their parents would die as well. The realization of death brings with it the fear as well. So be sure that you are there to help him or her face those fears. Teach them the reality behind death and soon things would become easier for them to slowly move on.
  7. Encourage the sharing of happy memories:Encourage the sharing of happy memoriesEventually when people are there no more all that remains are some beautiful memories. Your kid however will surely have many good memories of their grandparent. To help child cope with death of a grandparent, encourage them to share those memories and let them have a word at the memorial service. This is a huge benefit because it helps them to remember their grandparents in a positive way. The loss cannot be helped but the good memories surely can play an important role to reduce the pain.
  8. Tell them it is not their fault: The psychology of four to six year old kids is often very egocentric. Since they consider everything to be about themselves there is a chance that in case of a death of a grandparent, they would start thinking that it happened due to them. It could result in too much guilt for a little child and cause an emotional imbalance. Make sure that to help child cope with death of a grandparent, you always are telling them that it has got nothing to do with them. If they realize that the death is such a phenomenon that has nothing to do with them, it will keep their little minds at rest. Kids are vulnerable in the face of such a tragedy. It is thus extremely helpful if you pay attention to all such details and help him overcome the tough times. 

Final words

These are important lessons for you to learn so that you can better impart the wisdom to your kids which would help kid cope with grief. So when grandmother has died or it is the grandfather, the traumatic moments of your kid can be made a lot easy if you just pay attention to these little things. Death is a reality and acceptance is a lesson your kids must learn.

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Dr Prem Jagyasi (c)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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