Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Children living with loss

By:

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Most of us working in the early years sector have experienced grief at some point in our lives, whether in childhood or in our adult lives. This holds true for the families and children we work with. As early years educators, we must be aware that children grieve too. While children assume that their family will always stay the same, research indicates that two in every 100 9-year-olds in Ireland have lost a parent. Loss of other important people in a young child’s world can include siblings, friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents or other close loved ones. Death can be frightening for children, who may not have the information to help them to understand what is happening. Unlike adults, children dip in and out of grief. It can be intermittent and intense but can also pass quickly, distracted by friends and activities.

Each child in a family grieves differently due to their personality, gender, and the relationship they have with the person who has died. Bereaved children are best supported in their natural environment and not all bereaved children need professional support. It is okay to be sad with your bereaved child. They need to be given time and space to remember the person and, in some cases, it can be supportive for them to meet with other bereaved children.

What children say helps and it is important to be available to talk when the child wants to talk. It is also important to acknowledge that their loss is important. Honest information helps a child to understand. Taking part in the goodbye ritual and having a part to play in it can be very beneficial for children. When telling a child that a loved one has died, the words used should be clear, such as dead or died – it is not helpful to use terms such as ‘gone’, ‘gone to sleep’, ‘gone to Heaven’, ‘passed away’, etc. as this can be very confusing and the child may either expect the person to come back or that they can go and visit them.

As early years educators, we may need to provide some extra support in the period that follows a bereavement. This should be appropriate to the child’s developmental stage and the wishes of the family. It is important to remember that children’s grief is different from that of adults and children grieve in spurts – sometimes several times a day. At those times, their grief can be very intense. Children need to know it is okay to play and have fun and not be sad all the time. You might consider buying some books on bereavement to help you support a young child who is grieving, or who may experience the loss of a loved one in the near future.

 

This week sees the third National Bereaved Children’s Awareness Week. This is intended to highlight the needs of bereaved children and ways to support them through difficult periods of loss. The Irish Childhood Bereavement Network (ICBN) will host a national event, ‘Children Grieve Too’, at Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8. This will take place on Thursday 15 November from 10am until 3:30pm.

 

Useful links: 

The Irish Childhood Bereavement Network provide support and information in relation to children and loss. It advocates for bereaved children, young people, and their families. A number of useful resources are available on its website: www.childhoodbereavement.ie

Barnardos: www.barnardos.ie/our-services/work-with-families/bereavement-services

 

Bio:
Phil Lynch, (M.Sc.) is an Early Childhood Specialist in Research and Professional Learning with Early Childhood Ireland. She has worked in the early childhood education and care sector for over thirty-five years as an early year’s and adult educator, lecturer and mentor. Keen areas of interest are the quality of pedagogical leadership and the importance of continuing professional learning.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Quality(4) meals(3) dogs(1) MECPI(1) Childcare(3) Siolta blog(8) Iraq(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Dance(1) Recycle(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) parents(6) maternity health(1) Maths(5) AIM(2) Mathematicians(1) E.coli(1) learners(1) Magda Gerber(1) Our Little Seed(1) play(34) Trade union(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Care-giving routines(1) risk assessment(1) Games(1) GDPR(1) code of ethics(1) Degree(1) Photographs(1) Scents(1) risky play(2) Queues(1) dining experiences(1) Traffic Lights(1) Pobal(1) Maternity Leave(1) Design(1) blog(28) pets(1) Budget 2019(2) Budget 2018(1) Kilkenny(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Halloween(2) Study Trip(1) Learning Story(1) Super Shed Stories(2) listening(1) Professionalisation(5) Awards 2019(1) play therapy(1) Interaction(1) Visitors(1) RTE Investigates(1) baby room(1) Treasure(1) Magnavacchi(1) Mount Everest(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) United Nations(1) Research Seminar(1) Funding(1) Biting(1) outdoor space(3) Pobal sector profile(1) gender stereotype(1) Learning Stories(9) childcare services(1) Line-ups(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Bereavement(2) Workforce(1) trust(5) under 3's(3) Reflective Practice(1) Challenges(1) Names(1) Community involvement(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) purpose(1) Wonder(1) Childhood(1) code of professional responsibility(1) outdoor play(6) University(1) Treasure Chest(1) life long learning(1) The Jelly King(1) Facebook(1) Frustrations(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Nutrition(1) Certificate(1) Engagement(1) Appreciation(1) Mud kitchens(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Recycling(2) research(6) Oireachtas(1) Little Buddies(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Role play(1) Trigonometry(1) Workplace well-being(1) Time(2) Trade Unions(1) Research Conference 2019(1) pablo(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Shapes(1) Spiders(1) Trick or treat(1) conversations(1) Book Club(2) dining(1) Routines(2) memories(1) learning(19) Support(1) EM Standing(1) ICBN(1) early years learning(1) books(4) Sustainability(3) Change(1) Performance Management(1) preschool settings(1) CPD(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Inspired Practice Award(5) Favouritism(1) Builders(1) Graduation(1) children development(1) Flowers(1) overhear(1) MA(1) planning(1) Belonging(3) Irish(1) Identity(5) Capable(1) Leprechauns(1) Arts(1) respect(5) Meal time(1) Administrative Burden(1) Mayo(1) Wendy Lee(3) Engineering Ireland(1) Love(2) Snack Time(1) Children and families(1) Home Corner(1) structure(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Thinking(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Intention(1) First 5(1) Interests(1) Yoga(1) Wrapping paper(1) Staff Motivation(1) apps for children(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Painting(1) CIT(1) Early Years(1) Workplace Relations(3) UD(1) Obesity(1) Gardening(1) social media(1) food(1) Vertical grouping(1) Iceland(1) Drawing(2) feisty(1) science(3) Titles(1) Well-Being(9) Síolta QAP(1) Sport(1) story time(2) bloom app(1) Masterclass(2) COVID-19(4) CCTV(1) experience(1) College(1) phone apps(1) Celebrate(1) Elders(1) Graduate(1) Magic(1) STEM(3) EECERA 2016(1) Self-Esteem(1) Inter-generational(2) refugees(1) Snakes(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) National Holiday(1) Craft(1) Orla Kenny(1) Environment(2) iOS(1) Scéalta Blog(99) Cognitive development(1) Educators(2) Awards 2018(3) Story(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) education(2) NCCA(3) Sociodramatic play(1) conference(1) ERASMUS+(3) Engineers Week(2) Socioemotional development(1) Investment(2) Digital Devices(1) Engineering(3) HR(1) Mark Twain(1) Malaguzzi(1) environments(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Children's Voice(1) social science(1) Teamwork(1) Learning journals(1) educarer(1) preschool(4) Liz Kerrins(1) Book Review(1) aistear blog(3) Universal Design(2) Cork(1) Mental Health(3) Playschool(1) babies(7) Albert Einstein(1) Maynooth University(2) Window(1) keezy(1) research submissions(1) dublin(2) mushrooms(1) Aistear(116) Leadership(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Exercise(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Children(4) NAEYC(1) Employee(1) Reading Time(1) INTO(1) Feeding(1) early learning(1) Fantasy play(1) Ceremony(1) Light table(1) Laughter(1) Penguins(1) Inspections(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Afghanistan(1) communication(4) development(8) Gratitude(1) Impact(1) Italy(1) Giraffe(2) Breathing(2) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) risk(2) Limerick(1) Thank you(1) Sleep(1) Adoption(1) Autism(4) The Lullaby Book(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Arithmetic(1) Map(1) Communicating(1) Party(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Sequins(1) Summer(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Arlene Forster(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Supernanny(1) emotions(2) Brain(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Empathy(1) routine(2) role playing(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Fee Play(1) Sculptures(1) National Awards 2019(1) Loss(1) Human Resources(1) Early Years Educators(3) Maynooth(1) Youtube Series(1) Glitter(2) Sweets(1) Valentine's Day(3) Child mental health(1) Family wall(1) eating(1) Self-regulation(1) Primary School(2) Diversity(1) Relaxation(1) ears(1) Maria Montessori(1) Santa(2) linc(1) Covid pandemic(1) Snacks(1) early years research(2) RIE philosphy(1) ECEC(2) Awards Night(1) emotional environment(2) educating(1) Training(2) Culture(2) Syria(1) Laugh(1) San Miniato(4) Interactions(2) Participation(2) Stress(2) Rituals(1) reading(5) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Twitter(1) Nonverbal(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) AsIAm(2) collaboration(1) Horizon 2020(1) gender bias(1) UNCRC(2) Behaviour(3) Building Resilience(1) Lego(2) Mindfulness(2) DCYA(4) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) value(1) Celebrations(4) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Early Childhood Ireland(1) Technology(3) Hand Hygiene(1) journey(1) Traditions(2) man up(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Self Help Skills(1) SPICE Framework(1) Performing(1) early childhood educator(2) Shoes(1) Anxiety(2) ECCE(7) Running(1) Leargas(1) Wilenski(1) Qualifications(1) Ariana Pucci(1) ECEC Setting(2) stories(3) Maths Week(1) First 5 strategy(1) Creative(1) family time(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Plants(1) Inclusion(3) Budget 2020(1) science week(2) Mantra(1) Easter(1) listen(1) toddlers(3) Children's Research Network(1) Mixed age groups(2) Exploring(1) Consent(1) learning bias(1) Buddy Bench(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) School Age Childcare(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Learning Journal(2) Weather(1) Confidence(1) Thanks(1) Academic Skills(1) Death(2) friendships(1) Montessori(3) Reggio Children Network(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Through the looking glass(1) Jenga(1) awards 2020(1) community(5) Policy(2) opportunity(1) transitions(10) animals(2) Kids Own(1) Social Skills(1) New Appointments(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Patterns(1) Reggio(1) play stories(2) Music(3) Time Out(1) Event Guide(1) National Awards 2018(2) Storytelling(6) Exclusion(1) interacting(2) UN(1) InspireMe.ie(1) European Project(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) budget(1) Body Language(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Potential(1) Decisions(1) annual conference(1) supportive environments(2) Margy Whalley(1) outdoors(3) IGL(1) Exit interview(1) Eritrea(1) Smiles(1) Awards(2) ReCreate(2) Independence(1) Infection Control(1) Meet the Members(1) Competent(1) Care routines(1) Document Learning(1) Communications(1) Whole Group(1) early life(1) Blocks(1) Visual Impairment(1) Mealtimes(1) Inspirational(2) Japan(1) Infectious diseases(1) scéalta(30) Grief(1) Norway(2) child-centred approach(1) DES Inspection(1) Sustainable(1) Síolta(111) St. Patrick's Day(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) behavioural science(1) TRAP(1) Imagination(3) Aldo Fortunati(4) Affordability(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Pen green(1) christmas(9) Nuturing interactions(1) Opportunities(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) worries(1) Winter(1) Fabric(1) Health(2) youdoodle(1) continual professional development(1) relationships(17) grandchild(1) Wesco(1) PIP(1) Children's Rights(3) documentation(4) Digital(1) TOY Programme(1) Kerry(1) Creativity(4) Christmas Creativity(2) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Decision Making(1) curriculum(5) Online(1) Sessional service(1) Upcycling(1) Academics(1) Positivity(1) curiosity(3) Seas Suas(1) imotion(1) Playdough(1) Touch(1) primary education(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Xbox(1) Prexit(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Mo Scéal(1) Settling in(4) bonds(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Vietnam(1) art of the relationship(1) Plastic(1) Family(1) Buddies(1) Confident(1) Art(6) Advocacy(1) Rich Documentation(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine