Memorial Hospital's Camp Fearless & Tips to Help Grieving Children
As many in our community know, Hospice of Memorial Hospital hosts Camp Fearless each June. Camp Fearless is a weeklong program to help children age 6 – 16 understand how to cope with the loss of a loved one. If your child is struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one, I would highly recommend Camp Fearless. Also, check out these tips that could help your child through the bereavement process.
Guidelines for Helping Grieving Children
- Acknowledge the loss.
- If the loss was a death, use proper terminology such as “cancer,” “death,” “dead,” etc. Avoid euphemisms like “gone away,” “passed on,” “lost,” “asleep,” “left us.”
- Use the deceased person’s name or title (i.e. Mother, Father and Grandpa) and listening is more important than guiding and advising.
- Be warm and sensitive, reassuring, let the child know you care and you are supporting them.
- Encourage and provide opportunities for the expression of their feelings. Communicate that it is okay to show their emotions. Remember grief and loss is unique.
- Keep in mind grief may exhibit behaviors and structure in their routine is important.
- Be patient, grief may be intermittent. Children may ask the same question or tell the same story over and over as they process their grief and adjust to the death.
- Give the child permission to grieve. Don’t tell the child “I know how you feel.” Children grieve much differently than adults.
- Reassure the child death, divorce; separation, etc. are not their fault. But keep in mind they will try to justify the reason the person is no longer present.
- Do not hide your feelings from the child. Let them see you express your emotions. Keep in mind grieving children may not be able to rest well due to insomnia, sleep interruptions, dreams, fear, etc.
- Let the child have an opportunity to say good-bye. “If they are old enough to know and love the person they are old enough to say good-bye.”
I hope these tips help. They were provided to us by the Phoenix Center for Grieving Children. If you’d like more information about Camp Fearless, download the camp flyer, or visit the online event page. You can also contact Hospice of Memorial Hospital at 419.547.6419.
About the Author:
Vicki Meade RN, Director of Hospice of Memorial Hospital, is a graduate of Providence Hospital School of Nursing. She has worked with hospice for 20 years, being the director the last 1 1/2 years.
Vicki was born and raised in Clyde and has spent most of her life in this community. She presently lives in Clyde with her husband Ron and has 2 children in college. Vicki’s passion is to continue to care for the people in this community as hospice has for the past 25 years. In her spare time Vicki enjoys spending time with family and friends, spending time outdoors and relieving her stress at Boot camp class.
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