Tips for Coping with Grief During the Holidays
From Comfort Zone Camp in Richmond
The holiday season is upon us. Children who have lost a loved one can struggle during this time, which occurs between Halloween and New Year’s Day. According to Comfort Zone Camp, a local camp that supports those individuals, “one in seven children lose a parent or sibling before they turn 20.”
Here are some tips from the camp’s chief program officer Pete Shrock on how families can offer support to a grieving child during the holidays:
1.) Sharing is important
Openly encourage children to share their thoughts and feelings. If the child doesn’t feel comfortable enough to open up yet, suggest that they keep a journal.
2.) Acknowledge the grief
Children grieve differently than adults and as a result, it’s important to assure them it’s OK to be sad at times. He added, “Children are very intuitive, so be authentic in your conversations.”
3.) Encourage creativity
Inspire children to express themselves through their creativity with crafts such as making decorations featuring photos of their loved one. Other suggestions include helping them make their favorite dish for a meal or creating a jar filled with favorite family memories to read out loud together.
4.) Honor your family’s traditions and create new rituals
Traditions are important to children. Find out which ones are most near and dear to them during the holiday season. Determine ways that you can incorporate those traditions into your family’s celebrations.
5.) Go easy on yourself
First and foremost, take care of yourself so that you can then care for others. Lead by example so that children learn from you.