The holidays are supposed to be a time of unbridled joy for children. Sadly, if a child has experienced a loss, the holidays can be an extremely difficult period. Family traditions during the holiday season can be sad reminders to children as memories rush back. Holiday presents, Santa Claus visits and the “magic of the season” can sometimes do only little to ease the grief of a child during this hectic time of the year.
A representative on behalf of Angela Hospice of Livonia sent some advice for parents to help their child or children overcome grief during the holiday season. Rebecca DeRaud, a bereavement specialist for Angela Hospice of Livonia, offers these tips to help parents:
- Honesty is the best policy. Answer any and every question as honestly (and age appropriately) as possible. “Protecting” your children makes them create their own version, which is often scarier than what really happened.
- Ask questions and be ready to listen to the answers.
- Never shy away from talking. Leave the door open.
- Recognize that it is okay for the child to cry. Don’t shy away from remembering the person lost, simply to avoid the emotion behind the loss.
- Children need to know their feelings are validated. Also, be honest about your own feelings.
- Give children choices for what they would like to do to celebrate the holiday, even if that means changing or maintaining family traditions. Ask them how they would like to celebrate, or if they want to celebrate at all.
About Angela Hospice Home Care
Established in 1985, Angela Hospice Home Care, Inc., is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, operated by the Felician Sisters of Livonia, Michigan.
Angela Hospice Home Care, Inc., is State Licensed, Medicare/Medicaid certified, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan approved, and accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Program. Angela Hospice Home Care, Inc., is a member of the National Association for Home Care, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and Michigan Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.