Grieving over the holidays: supporting children


Grieving over the holidays: supporting childrenThere are many major focal points walking through the stores in the late fall and winter. Decorated windows with the latest popular must-have items and songs of family and celebration fill the retail landscape. There are opportunities to celebrate, gifts to give and receive, and the chance to spend time with family. The holidays are meant to be a joyous and magical time for children.

These scenes give us the illusion of merriment and happiness. For many, the thoughts of these special days are happy ones but for bereaved families, happiness may be far from their thoughts. For bereaved families with children, it is important to include the children in the planning of holiday events and activities.

Here are some questions to ask children about how they would like to celebrate the holiday season and remember the lost loved one:

  • How are they feeling about the upcoming holiday?
  • Do they want to celebrate the season?
  • Would they like to have a time of remembrance added to the celebration?
  • Will they need quiet time away from festive activities?

Identify people who will be able to support children during this time and help them think about practical solutions to difficult situations that may arise. For example, offering to help out by volunteering for a social agency during the holiday can help lessen the isolation and help children feel good about their ability to help others.

For more resources and support to cope with what can be a challenging time of year, visit us at to connect with one of our counsellors.

With original content from Judy Leith, MA. CCC, Part-time counsellor in Calgary and Liz Hides, MSW, RSW, Affiliate counsellor in Calgary.


Tags: , , ,