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.

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