Helping children cope with bereavement

Whatever age you are, dealing with the death of someone close to you isn’t easy and is one of the most emotionally painful things a person can go through. When we lose a loved one as an adult, we usually have an understanding of why they died and we’re able to work our way through the grieving process. Children, no matter how mature they are, can really struggle to understand why their loved one died and deal with their complex emotions in the weeks, months and years following their death.

Co-operative Funeralcare have teamed up with CHUMS the Child Bereavement, Trauma and Emotional Wellbeing service to create a DVD and resource pack to help families and children aged 7- 16 cope with the loss of a loved one. There are four DVDs in the series, ‘Our Year Since Mum Died’, ‘Our Year Since Dad Died’, ‘Our Year Since Gran Died’ and ‘Our Year Since Grandad Died’. I was sent the ‘Our Year Since Mum Died’ DVD to watch and understand.

The DVD, which can be picked up free of charge from any Co-operative Funeralcare Home is a well put together package. The DVD is animated which makes the content more accessible to the children it is meant to help. Each DVD comes with a booklet of guidance notes to help families, schools and other professionals support the bereaved child.

Each of the DVDs follows the first year following the death of a loved one and talks about how different family members may react and cope with the death of a relative, as well as looking at how Gemma (the girl in the DVD), copes and tries to get back into normal daily life, including dealing with big family occasions and anniversaries like Mother’s Day, birthdays and Christmas.

Bereavement is such a difficult subject for anyone to talk about, having this DVD is a great way to open up the conversation and help children to understand that what they are going through and how they are feeling is all perfectly normal and it’s fine to feel angry or abandoned or just incredibly sad.

The DVD has some downloadable resources which have been developed to help teachers, adults, support workers etc. offer the support a bereaved young person may need. This includes a lesson plan, a PowerPoint presentation and some questions and answers.

The booklet of guidance notes comes with the details of a range of organisations that can help with child bereavement, offering counselling, advice and support where needed.

Bereavement is a difficult subject for many and the reality is that in the UK a parent of a dependent child will die every 22 minutes, leaving 41,000 children without a parent each year. These Co-operative Funeralcare DVDs are an excellent resource and one which will help many children through an incredibly difficult time in their lives.

If you, your family or organisation are interested in obtaining a copy of any of these free DVDs, you should contact your local Co-operative Funeralcare Funeral Home directly. There are previews of each of the DVDs on the website, as well as more information about how and why it was made and further information about the child bereavement charity, CHUMS.

child bereavement


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