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Mar 4, 2022

Part 4 of our Grief Series with Gabby Jimenez of The Hospice Heart features bereavement social worker Isabel Stenzel, with a focus on grief in children and young adults.  Younger people navigate grief differently.  As hospice and bereavement professionals, it’s important to remember to respect the instinct and wishes of the parents. There are numerous ways children can be connected to someone who’s dying - writing letters and cards or drawing pictures.  If we’re old enough to love, we’re old enough to grieve.  A time of loss is an opportunity to teach a child how to navigate a grief journey.  It’s important to prepare the child for what the child might see, like changes in body appearance or abilities to communicate.  Explanations about death should be provided according to the developmental level of the child.  Adults instinctively try to shield kids from experiences with death and dying, but kids can develop healthy coping mechanisms if appropriately involved in the death of a loved one.  How adults cope with grief greatly influence how a child grieves, so it’s vital for adults to care for themselves and get the grief support they need.  Using creative activities to create meaning and providing support that’s age appropriate can enable a child to navigate a loss in a healthy way.   


Resources for grieving children include:

National Alliance for Children’s Grief -

The Dougy Center -

Sesame Street YouTube videos

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