How to Help Children Deal with Changes to Mourning Due to COVID-19
The way in which we mourn has drastically changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The need to stay safe and socially distanced has changed the way that people hold funerals, and even the ways that they bury their loved ones. If you have children, and they have experienced a significant loss, you should consider the following points to help them navigate this changed world of mourning.
Children and Mourning
Just like adults, children have complex emotions, and go through mourning. Often, children's mourning may be ignored, as the child appears to have "moved on" soon after the death of a loved one. However, children also need space to grieve and mourn; this is why providing outlets for children to grieve is essential for their health.
How COVID-19 Has Changed Mourning
COVID-19 has changed mourning for people of all ages. Traditional methods of mourning, such as gathering in large groups to memorialize and celebrate a deceased loved one, have been limited or eliminated entirely, depending on the regulations of where you live
Children who might normally be able to see the way in which others mourn, or see a deceased loved one's body at a viewing, are now robbed of this experience. This can make it more difficult for children to understand the death, and even hinder their ability to express their feelings about what happened.
What You Can Do To Help Children
Thankfully, there are ways that you can help children mourn, despite the changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the ways that adults can help children mourn in the changed landscape of grief include:
- Having a video call memorial that allows the child to participate
- Having open discussions about death and grief in an age-appropriate manner
- Offering the children ways to express their emotions, such as through written journals, drawings, art, and more
- Setting up an AFTR audio-video system at the resting place of loved ones so that children can see and interact with the gravesite when they wish to
Remember to have patience for children who are experiencing mourning, as it is often very difficult for them to understand the complexities of the grief that they feel.