Coronavirus Grief in Kids: 6 Ways to Help Them Mourn Losses Well
Coronavirus grief in kids is real. It’s a by-product of the COVID-19 pandemic that is unfair, unwelcome, and at odds with the carefree world we want to create for our kids. More than anything, the caring adults–parents, foster parents, teachers, children’s pastors, medical professionals, mental health therapists, and others–who comprise our children’s support networks would like to ignore coronavirus grief and pretend it doesn’t exist.
But it does.
We can do much better than wishing away our kids’ coronavirus grief. We can come alongside our children, those with special needs and typical kids too, and create a space where they can process their coronavirus grief. We can help them mourn their losses, however big or small they may seem, in these 6 simple and profound ways.
#1: Remain Calm
Kids take their cues from adults, so primary caregivers who respond calmly to the daily effects of this pandemic provide children with a secure environment. Children who feel secure, even while chaos rages around them, can spend their emotional energy on grieving well instead of on worry. When at all possible, save your own emotional breakdown–and we all have them now and then–for when the kids aren’t around.
#2: Validate a Child’s Grief
We do our children a great service by validating whatever they are grieving. It may be the loss of a loved one who succumbed to COVID-19 or the fact that they can’t attend a grandparent’s funeral because of stay at home constraints. They could also be mourning the loss of their school routine, their teachers, and friends. They may miss seeing grandparents, playing with cousins, and activities like library story time, therapy appointments, art clubs, music lessons, and a hundred other little things.
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Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream series for parents of kids with special needs. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. She’s also the creator and host of the Different Dream website. Sharing Love Abundantly With Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and at Amazon.
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