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Supporting children and young people bereaved of a grandparent

Bereaved of a grandparent

The death of someone a child loves is always painful, but grieving is a normal process

    • The death of a grandparent may be the child’s first experience of a death in the family;
    • The child’s reaction to the death will be affected by the closeness of their relationship with the grandparent;
    • Many grandparents play a huge part in a child’s life and support parents in the care of the child;
    • The whole family is likely to need to re-define itself and one of the child’s parents will be grieving for their parent.

Ways to support a child when a grandparent dies

For some children the death of a grandparent will be their first bereavement of someone close to them.  Adults can help children manage their grief by:

    • Explaining what has happened in language the child can understanding;
    • Answering their questions and reassuring them that they can keep asking questions;
    • Explaining what will happen at the funeral
    • Providing them with the opportunity to say ‘goodbye’
    • Helping them maintain continuing bonds with their grandparent by sharing memories
    • Letting children know that feeling sad is normal when someone has died and that adults feel sad too;
    • Finding ways to help them to express their feelings;
    • Acknowledging their anxieties;
    • Keeping open lines of communication between home and school.

Books you may find helpful

For other book recommendations, please take a look at our booklist.