WHY A GRIEF NETWORK
We recognize that the support received by a grieving child or youth can significantly influence his/her wellbeing. As a result we aim to connect individuals and organizations who provide services and resources that benefit children and youth who are grieving a death.
Every child and youth has honest information and well-informed support when someone they care about is dying or has died.
Every child’s rights should be respected
There should be a broad range of grief support (formal and informal) available to all children and youth
Grief support should be culturally sensitive
Communities need to have capacity to support grieving children and youth: education and access to education, tools and services
Every child is unique and their response to death is individual
Grief support strives to give children and youth coping skills and increase their resilience to face life events
Accurate language is especially important in talking to young people about grief and death
To advocate for educational opportunities and support services that will benefit children and youth who are grieving the dying or the death of someone they care about.
What Kids Want to Know: The 4 C’s
Children need to be reassured:
1) They did not Cause the illness or death
2) They cannot Catch the illness
3) They cannot Cure the illness
4) Someone will take Care of them
WANT YOU TO KNOW
- Grieving children want to be told the truth.
- Grieving children want to be reassured that there will always be someone to take care of them.
- Grieving children want you to know that their grief is long lasting.
- Children often cope with grief and loss through play.
- Grieving children want you to know that they will always miss the person who died.
- Often grieving children want to share their story and talk about the person who died.
- Every child grieves differently.
- Grieving children often feel guilty.
- I might be acting out, what I’m really feeling is intense emotions of grief.
- If you’re not sure what a grieving child wants, just ask them!
To read the full document please visit the National Alliance for Grieving Children.
TIPS TO HELP
Don’t Be Afraid to Engage: When a child you know experiences the death of a parent, it is important to engage that child on some level. Visit with the family. Share a favorite memory.
Listen and Be Present: Having an opportunity to tell his or her story is often beneficial to a child’s healing process. It is important to really listen when they are sharing.
It’s Okay to Ask: When in doubt, ask a grieving child how you can help. Expect that you might get a range of answers or even a myriad of questions about grief.
Understand How Children Grieve: Children will grieve for the rest of their life. It is important to remember that each child has his or her own way of grieving.
Create Opportunities for Rituals: Rituals can give children tangible ways to acknowledge their grief and to honor the memory of those who have died.
Bring Your Families Together: Although invitations might be turned down, continue to invite grieving children and families to participate in so¬cial gatherings and outings.
Lend a Hand, but Be Specific: Grieving parents to delegate more, but they often hesitate to do so. Don’t wait to be asked— and be specific when you do ask. “Could I take your kids to basketball practice on Tuesday?”
Spread the Word: Make sure to talk to your friends about engaging with grieving families. Be an advocate to ensure that grieving children and families do not have to grieve alone.
Text reproduced from the “Grief Journey of a Child”, research made possible by The New York Life Foundation. For the full document, click here.
ADDITONAL LINKS AND
The Children and Youth Grief Network Video Series
A video series to inform school staff on how to best support grieving children and youth in the school and in the classroom.
Services Available in the Region of Peel and the Greater Toronto Area
Andrea Warnick Consulting – private counselling, education and professional consultation, – Serving the Greater Toronto Area, also available is sessions by phone or skype for those out of the region.
Bereaved Families of Ontario – Halton Peel- Provides open and closed groups for youth and young adults. Provides 1:1 support for youth (ages 14 – 29) that are grieving the death of a loved one.
Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre – Provides counselling and group events at no-charge within the city of Toronto. Runs Camp Erin Toronto which is open to bereaved children throughout Southern Ontario.
HUUG Program – 1:1 support for children (ages 0-19) that are grieving the dying or the death of a family member for the Peel Region.
Lighthouse Program for Grieving Children – Serving Halton, Peel and GTA Peer Support Groups
Websites for Additional Information on Supporting Grieving Children
“For adults grief is like wading through this enormous river whereas for children it’s puddle jumping, but when they are in that puddle it’s no different to the river.”
– Julie Stokes
Handbooks (Supporting children and Youth)
Handbook to Support Children: A HANDBOOK FOR VOLUNTEERS: SUPPORTING CHILDREN GRIEVING THE DYING AND DEATH OF A LOVED ONE (available in English and French)
Handbook to Support Youth: A HANDBOOK FOR SUPPORTERS: EXTENDING COMPASSION & CARE TO GRIEVING YOUTH (available in English)
These handbooks are intended for volunteers and professionals who have received formalized training in the field of children and youth grief support.
As a supporter, you play a very important role in a child’s life – the work you do will not only serve them in their grief, but will help them to cope with other challenges that they might face in their lives.
Click here to request the handbooks
Grief and Death Education Toolkit for School Settings
This Toolkit is an initiative is to help educators feel more comfortable addressing concepts of death and grief within the school setting. It includes an outline of death education, lesson plans, tip sheets, and resource lists that compliment Ontario curriculum standards for grades 4-10.
Click here to request the Grief and Death Education Toolkit
Family Day Toolkit
This resource was put together after the CYGN launched their first two family day programs in 2017. We compiled all of the planning resources, documents and learnings into one file so that other communities can hopefully deliver a similar program in a more streamlined way.
Region of Peel Children and Youth Grief and Bereavement Needs Assessment
In April 2015, the Children and Youth Grief Network was granted funds from the Region of Peel to conduct a Needs Assessment in the Peel Region. Prepared by Barbara Pidcock and Health Systems Solutions Inc., the needs assessment identified barriers and gaps that prevent or inhibit children and youth from accessing grief and bereavement services. For the full PDF report click here.
The literature search focuses on key articles, reports, etc. published between 2010 and 2015. The articles in the lit search reflect current thinking on the many different aspects of grief and bereavement among children and youth people. To read the literature search click here.
Supplement to Literature Search
The supplement to literature search discusses helplines, chat lines, social media, on-line support, etc. that is available to children and youth when seeking out support with grief and bereavement. To read the supplement search click here.