When a loved one dies it is normal to experience a range of overwhelming emotions.
You may find it difficult to cope with the everyday practical and emotional needs of your children alongside dealing with traumatic events surrounding the death and changes in your circumstances.
During the first few weeks there may be many people around you but after the funeral has taken place and everyone has returned to their own lives you may feel alone and isolated.
Although most people will try to be helpful and offer well-intentioned advice this can sometimes create even more confusion and make you feel as though no-one really understands your situation. However if you may be fortunate enough to have a close family/friend support network then do ask for their help as they will often be all too pleased to feel useful in some way.
Remember you need to look after yourself and involving another adult can help share the load
When talking to your child, be honest about what has happened, using words they can understand. It is important to let them know that they are still loved and very special and that you have time to listen to their fears and worries.
Try to use clear and simple words when talking to your child as they can often misinterpret the language we use. For example if you say ‘mummy fell asleep and did not wake up’, then a child may be afraid of going to sleep, or ‘we lost your granny’ as children could then fear becoming lost while out shopping etc.
It is important to let the school know what has happened as they can often be a great source of support for your child once they know and understand the impact of grief in children.
It's all right to cry with your child
Children may find it difficult to concentrate on their school-work and you may notice a change in their behaviour. These responses are normal and with appropriate support a child can begin to understand their feelings and rebuild their life again with your help.
Some children may become withdrawn while others may become angry or sad. All these are normal reactions. Children at different stages of development have different understandings of what death means and why people have to die.
Try to keep boundaries and routine as much as possible, this will help your child to understand that their daily life will continue.