Everyone handles their grief differently. That is one of the fundamental ideas that Hospice Yukon uses to guide their approach in supporting Yukoners through their programming. Within that no-one-size-fits-all philosophy, children have a special need for programming support as they cope with the consequences of grief much differently than adults.
“For younger children, sometimes it will look like they’re not grieving at all, and then they’re in it all at once,” said Deb Higgins, communications coordinator with Hospice Yukon. “It’s like they are puddle-jumping. One moment they’re fully immersed, and the next they’re fully out of it.”
Hospice Yukon has realized that educating parents and caregivers about that is needed, so the first of the two events is only for those important adults in children’s lives and will teach them skills to talk with their children and how to approach grief with their children.
Children also need tangible and concrete ways to relate to grief and connect to the loved one they’ve lost. The second workshop taking place on October 27, Kids Create, provides that venue for children to learn how to connect their emotions to a product they build. The workshop takes place over an afternoon for parents and children to remember a person or pet through simple crafts, drawing and an optional show and tell.
Higgins related her own family’s experience with a previous workshop. She and her son attended, creating a “memory box,” one of the crafting options for children, for a family pet they’d lost. They looked through photos and making pictures to place in the box, in a healthy environment, as they shared stories about the pet they’d lost. The box came home with them and has become a tangible thing at home to have a healthy continuation of the relationship when her son is sad or missing their dog. He can bring it down and remember.
Another tangible item that each receives at the end of the workshop is a sunflower to take home and plant. It becomes a real connection back to the day, and a healthy touch point with their safe experiences around dealing with grief.
The diversity of programs offered by Hospice Yukon means that specific workshops are only offered once or twice each year. For more information on the children’s grief workshops or a full list of Hospice Yukon programs and services, visit their website www.HospiceYukon.net, email them at [email protected] or call 867-667-7429.
“It’s like they are puddle-jumping. One moment they’re fully immersed and the next they’re fully out of it.” – Deb Higgins, Communications Coordinator Hospice Yukon
How to Talk to Kids About Death, Grief and Loss
October 15 – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
October 27 – 1:30 to 4 p.m.
What Kids’ Grief Can Look Like (courtesy of Hospice Yukon)
- Tummy aches/headaches
- Sleep disturbances
- Death play
- Repetitive asking of questions
- Increased need for affection
- Behavioural regression