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How Can I Prepare My Child for Returning to School After a Death?

Are you worried about your child returning to school following the death of a loved one?

It’s important for children to settle back into the routine of school and seeing their friends after suffering a loss, however you may still be feeling uncertain of how they’ll cope once they return to class.

Many parents worry that they’re sending their child back too soon; that their minds may not be focused on what they are doing in class, and that they won’t know how to deal with other children asking how they are.

In my experience as a child bereavement counsellor, I’d like to reassure you that many children are glad to have a little bit of focus and normality in their lives after experiencing a loss, and going back to school can be a welcome distraction.

However, below I’m going to give you some advice in order to help fully prepare your child for returning to school after a death in the family.

Speak to the school first

The first thing I’d recommend doing before your child returns to school is speaking to your child’s teacher (or perhaps your child’s guidance counsellor, if they are in high school). Explain to them what has happened and how your child is currently coping.

The teacher may opt to speak to the class before your child returns, just so their fellow classmates understand that someone has died and that they’ll maybe need to lend extra support to your child, as it can be difficult coming back to school after such an event.

The children may even have some questions themselves, which the teacher can help get out of the way before your child returns, as your child may just want to play with their friends and forget everything for a while without having to answer lots of questions.

As a teacher myself, I’ve had to explain to my class on a few occasions why one of their classmates is off, and usually they know what has happened. I let them ask questions and we also try to come up with ideas of nice things we can do to help our friend when they return to school.

TIP: If you are a teacher reading this and are worried about what to say to the child in fear of upsetting them, don’t be; it’s better to acknowledge and say something, rather than say nothing at all. Remember, the worst has already happened.

Talk to your child about returning to school

It’s also important to talk to your child and see how they are feeling about going back to school. Depending on how they are coping with the loss, they may be keen to return to class quickly and see their friends – or, they may keep asking to stay home and need a little more encouragement.

Some children may even need some boundaries set; children like boundaries and if they are taken away then it can be another huge change and they may not be entirely sure how to deal with that.

If your child is anxious or worried about returning to school, a good idea is to tell them they can talk to the teacher and if things get too much at any point, they can come home. If you’re unable to do this due to work commitments, try to get a friend’s house on standby, just in case.

Try to keep things as normal as possible for your child, and let them know who they can speak to at school if they are upset at any point. Reassure them that their teachers should be understanding and will speak to them and acknowledge what has happened.

When to seek professional guidance

You may be wondering if your child would benefit from seeing a bereavement counsellor, however this really depends on the circumstances and how close your child was to the person who has died. It may also depend how others in your family are coping with the recent loss.

My usual advice is that if your child has lost a parent or sibling, a counsellor could really help them to cope and to open up about this huge change in their life, whilst allowing them to work through their grief in a safe environment.

TIP: The website Winston’s Wish is a great resource for helping to support your child with various aspects of their grief, including returning to school.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful when supporting your child in returning to school and getting back into a routine. It’s so important for children to get back to a bit of normality, even though this may seem difficult at first.

Remember, the school should be happy to speak to you and do everything they can to help your child settle back into classes without too much disruption.

If you’re looking for ideas for what to do with your loved one’s ashes, you’re welcome to read our ebook: ‘6 Things You Can Do With Your Loved One’s Ashes’.

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6 Questions a Child Might Ask About a Recent Death in the Family

Are you unsure of how to answer your child’s questions about the death of a loved one?

If you’ve recently suffered a loss in the family, you have my deepest sympathies. Explaining about death to a child – especially if they are particularly young – can often be a tough task, and you may be preparing yourself for many questions.

Children tend to have a natural curiosity about the Great Unknown, and especially when it comes to death, they will want to know what it feels like, if the loved one is ever coming back, what happens to the loved one now, and even if they are going to die, too.

Sometimes knowing what to say to these questions can be incredibly difficult, and you may be worried about saying the wrong thing at such a delicate time.

Below, I’m going to use my experience as a child bereavement counsellor to help talk you through some of the most common questions children ask about the death of a loved one, and the best way to respond.

1. Is death like sleeping?

Regardless of what you believe, it’s important not to refer to death as if your loved one is simply sleeping, as this idea can be particularly frightening for young children. It’s easy for a child to become confused and acquire the fear that they are going to die in their sleep.

As you can imagine, this leads to all sorts of problems, including the child avoiding sleep altogether!

I find the best way to explain death is by saying that we all need our bodies to live, and when our bodies become ill and medicine can’t help to make it better, they will eventually just stop working. And when our body no longer works, it means we are dead.

As for what happens after death, it’s okay to say that you don’t know, but to share your beliefs or what you’d like to think happens after a person has died. Ask your child what they believe happens, and allow them to take comfort from that belief, if it helps.

2. Will they come back?

This is another common question, and one I hear a lot, particularly from younger children who sometimes have difficulty accepting that death is final. In this case, it’s vital to be very clear about this from the get-go.

My advice is to tell them that no, the loved one won’t be back; no matter how much we miss them, or try to get them back, they won’t ever be coming back – not in a week, a month or even a year.

‘Waterbugs and Dragonflies’ by Doris Stickney is a good book to read to young children about this, as denial is one of the stages of grief, and if they’re going through that stage, it may make it more difficult for them to understand the finality of death.

3. What happened to him/her?

I understand that this question can be a particularly difficult one to answer, but I always advise being very truthful here, as your child will have picked up bits and pieces from conversations and from what you’ve already told them.

Keeping this information from a child, or telling them something other than the truth, can be particularly hurtful if the child finds out from someone else, such as from another child in the school playground.

You can be basic about the information to start with, as long as that information is honest, and gradually give them more details when they ask, or if you think it’s needed.

TIP: I know that answering honestly can be particularly difficult in the case of a suicide, so read my blog post on the subject for more guidance.

4. Will I die, too?

The best thing to say here is to explain that we will all die at some point in our lives, and most of the time it’s when we are old – however, there are times when younger people die due to accidents or illnesses.

It’s important to explain here that just because someone they know has died, it doesn’t mean they are going to die, too. Tell them that they are healthy, and by keeping themselves safe, there’s no reason why they can’t live long, full lives.

5. Is it my fault?

This may seem like an unusual question to ask, but actually it’s very common for children to think the death of a loved one or family member is their fault; maybe because of a thought they had, or something they said to the loved one who has died.

Because of this unfounded guilt, it’s absolutely crucial to stress that it’s not their fault, and to explain the reason why the person has died – that way, there’s no doubt whatsoever about any of the blame falling to them.

What if my child hasn’t asked any questions?

Sometimes children don’t like to ask the questions above, or don’t know how, and are very upset. Other times, they might have lots of questions, but are hesitant about asking someone close to them for fear of hurting/upsetting the person further.

I’ve often found that speaking to a less immediate relative or close family friend can help a child open up and ask the questions they’ve been holding in.

In my role as a bereavement counsellor, I once worked with a child who hadn’t asked any questions at all, so eventually I posed some of them back to him, such as: “Are you wondering what happened?” and: “Are you wondering if they’ll come back?”

It turned out he had been wondering all of these things, but simply didn’t know how to ask or how to bring it up in conversation. It may be that giving your child the opportunity to ask questions or even posing some back to them will help them to finally get the answers they need.

What if I don’t have the answer to their question?

If you don’t have the answer to a question, it’s okay to say so. If it’s a question you can find out the answer to, just say you’ll get back to them when you’ve found out. If not, then you could refer to what other people believe, or what you believe yourself – and ask them what they think.

Conclusion

I’m very sorry for your loss, but hope this blog post has gone some way to providing you with some much-needed guidance when answering some of your child’s biggest questions about the death of a loved one.

Every child experiences grief differently. Your child may find it difficult asking some of these questions, in which case they may prefer to talk to a less immediate family member or friend – or you could try posing some questions back to your child to help them open up.

If you’re looking for ideas for what to do with your loved one’s ashes, you’re welcome to read our ebook: ‘6 Things You Can Do With Your Loved One’s Ashes’.

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How Much Does a Memorial Glass Ring Cost, and What Can Affect Price?

Are you trying to figure out exactly how much a memorial glass ring costs?

It can be incredibly painful to lose a loved one, but it goes without saying that they do live on in our memories and in our hearts.

Many of my customers find comfort in memorial glass, which perfectly encapsulates their loved ones’ ashes and sparkles beautifully in the light.

Memorial glass rings are without a doubt the most popular cremation jewellery items I sell, having worked in glassmaking for over 20 years now.

But how much should you really expect to pay for a memorial glass ring? That’s a really good question, and one I’m going to attempt to answer in this blog post.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are a number of factors that can affect the final price you pay.

Memorial glass ring costs explained

Cremation glass rings usually cost anywhere in the region of £240 – £495, although you may find some more expensive. The cost will really depend on the type of materials used (sterling silver, white gold or gold).

I personally sell two types of handcrafted memorial glass rings:

However, you’ll find many more different styles, shapes and sizes available online with just a quick Google search. I’d say it’s definitely worth having a browse so you can find something to suit your taste and budget.

TIP: You can find out more about the creation process that goes into my classic memorial glass rings elsewhere on my blog – however this will differ between cremation glass companies.

What other factors can affect price?

There are quite a few factors that will most likely affect the overall price you pay for your memorial glass ring. Factors such as the company you choose, and the type and quality of metal they use, for instance.

TIP: Always check your cremation jewellery will be hallmarked before purchasing – and if you’re buying gold, check the carat. Here is a list of some of the other questions you should be asking.

You also have to consider the quality of the glass, as well as the process and materials used to make your ring.

There’s also the option to have your unique memorial glass ring engraved with your own message – especially if it’s a gift. Some places may do this for a small charge (ours is £15), or you may need to take it to an engraver.

Finally, packaging and shipping can also be important. Find out if your memorial ring will be shipped in a presentation box, complete with a certificate of authenticity. And of course, you’ll want to know your special ring will be sent via recorded post or courier.

All of the things I’ve mentioned above can affect the final price you pay online. When you think about it, that probably explains how much prices can vary!

Things to consider before buying your memorial glass ring

Although cost may play a big part in your decision, it’s always worth shopping around. Only settle for an experienced company that suits your budget, and also makes you feel confident and reassured that your loved ones’ ashes are in safe hands.

Remember, just because something costs more, doesn’t necessarily mean it will end up being better quality. Try to find the right balance between cost, quality and professionalism. Trust me, it will be worth it. If you can speak to someone on the phone beforehand, even better.

TIP: Some companies will ask you to pay for your memorial glass pendant up front, rather than just asking for a deposit.

Conclusion

I’m sorry for your loss, but I hope this blog has been helpful when highlighting how much a memorial glass ring costs. With so many companies offering different prices, it can be a bit confusing at the best of times!

If there’s anything else you’d like to ask me about, please do leave a comment below. I’m always happy to hear from you, and I’ll do my best to help.

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“Is She With Granny/Papa?” – What Do I Tell My Child?

Are you concerned about how to respond when your child asks you about the afterlife?

If you’ve suffered a recent loss in your family, it can be a painful time for all involved, and you may also have the added worry of how your child (or children) will cope with the loss of a loved one.

The good news is that it’s perfectly normal for them to be curious about death, and some may ask lots of questions about what death really means, what happens at the funeral, and what will happen to the loved one afterwards.

Some of these questions can include: “Is she with Granny/Papa?” or “Is Uncle Steve looking after him?”

Not everyone knows how to answer these questions, so if you’re feeling uncertain, I’m going to use my experience as a child bereavement counsellor to provide some guidance below.

Why is my child asking me about passed relatives?

Children tend to have a natural sense of curiosity, especially when it comes to the Great Unknown. Especially if your child is very young, it’s likely they’re just trying to make sense of it all.

However, as children grow older, some also find a sense of comfort in thinking that a loved one is with other family members or friends who have passed away – it’s a nice idea to think that they’re not lonely, and they’re all having a good time together somewhere off in the distance.

In fact, most children I’ve personally worked with have believed that their loved one is still watching over them from somewhere above, and this gives them some comfort – this is perfectly okay, although their beliefs will often change as time goes on.

What should I tell them about the afterlife?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. Your answer may depend on your faith, and you may want to say something along the lines of: “Well, some people believe that…” or “Well, our religion says…”

If you don’t believe in the afterlife, but still want to give some comfort to your child, there’s nothing wrong with being honest and telling them you’re simply not sure, but you’d like to think that there’s something more. You could even have a talk about different beliefs around the world.

In either case, try asking them what they believe – or hope – might happen after death; maybe they could even draw a picture to show you.

What if their beliefs are different from mine?

One thing I would say here is to avoid imposing your beliefs if they happen to be different to those of your child; they may be happy with their own thoughts and feelings about what happens after death for the time being.

As I said above, children often draw comfort from the idea that their loved one is watching over them, but their beliefs will develop and change over time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Conclusion

I hope the above advice has been helpful when figuring out how to answer your child’s questions about the afterlife, and in particular, whether a recently deceased loved one is with other relatives.

Remember, it’s fine to be honest and open with your child about your beliefs or hopes, but also ask them what they believe themselves about the afterlife – and allow them to believe their own version if it brings them comfort.

If you’re looking for ideas for what to do with your loved one’s ashes, you’re welcome to read our ebook: ‘6 Things You Can Do With Your Loved One’s Ashes’.

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Are you looking for a memorial glass signet ring to remember a loved one?

Memorial glass rings are a wonderful way to help celebrate the memory of a loved one. In fact, they’re the most popular item I make! They come in many forms, too – some are elegant and delicate, whilst other styles are chunkier and more contemporary.

If you’re looking for something a bit different from the norm, a signet ring could be a good choice for you. And there are plenty of options out there to choose from!

Below, I’m going to tell you a bit more about my own creation process that I’ve developed over years of experience, and why a cremation glass signet ring might be the best choice for you.

 

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Why choose a memorial glass signet ring?

A memorial glass signet-style ring is more of a unisex option than the other memorial glass rings I sell. It’s also great if you’re looking for a contemporary ring that’s a bit different from the norm.

Although signet rings aren’t exactly new, this memorial glass twist is a way of incorporating your loved ones’ ashes into something you can wear every day. My customers often tell me it’s like their loved one is holding their hand. There’s also the option of engraving it with your own message.

One of my customers did just this very recently. Her son had been very upset about the loss of his dog, a little Jack Russell terrier. When he decided to get her cremated, he kept the ashes, and she used a tiny bit of them to get a gold signet ring made for him as a surprise.

He was over the moon, and now he wears his special ring every day – on his little finger. I find it really does bring my customers a great deal of comfort to have that one little thing to hold onto.

TIP: Our signet ring is quite a chunky design, and probably has a higher metal content than many other places, as we wanted it to have a luxury feel. You can choose from gold, white gold or sterling silver 925.

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The creation process

Not every company will go through the same creation process I use. However, I wanted to give you a better idea of what’s involved when I create a signet ring for my customers:

Step 1:

Firstly, you choose which colour of signet ring you’d like. Options can be found either online or in your order pack – however some companies (including myself) will be able to offer custom colours upon request.

Step 2:

Then, I heat up the coloured glass to around 1500 – 1400 degrees, so it becomes almost like a sort of honey texture.

Step 3:

Next, I heat up a bit of metal, and add some molten glass, before covering it in coloured glass. I then delicately place the ashes onto the colour, and heat it up slowly bit by bit, before sealing with clear glass.

When the ashes are added to the glass, their form their own completely unique pattern. It’s safe to say no two rings are ever alike!

Step 4:

Afterwards, the glass sits in a kiln for around 24 hours, until it cools right back to room temperature. Then it’s ready for the next step!

Step 5:

Almost there. Next, I use diamond wheels to grind and polish the bottom, before our highly skilled goldsmiths and silversmiths work the glass into the metal using traditional techniques. Your signet ring is handmade to your specific size.

Step 6:

Once your signet ring is ready, I get in touch to let you know, and send you across your final invoice. Your ring is then sent out via recorded post.

How long does it take?

Memorial glass signet rings can usually take some of the larger companies up to 6 – 8 weeks to produce. I’d say this is because they process a lot of orders every week.

The good news is that there are some smaller cremation glass companies out there who can produce memorial glass rings quicker. They can also add a bit more of a personal touch, I find.

Having been in this business for over 20 years, I know it’s absolutely essential to have peace of mind. That’s why I endeavour to get ashes back to my customers without delay, and usually within two weeks. I also send them updates throughout the process.

How much does it cost?

A contemporary-style chunky memorial glass signet ring like mine should cost around £240 – £420, but the price will vary between different companies.

I always tell people to shop around carefully before settling on a ring they love, from an experienced company. Ideally, you should be able to speak to someone over the phone before placing your order.

TIP: I’ve put together 8 questions to ask a cremation glass company BEFORE sending ashes away in the post. It’s always better to be on the safe side with such a sensitive purchase.

Conclusion

I’m sorry for the reason that has brought you to this page. Losing a loved one is never easy, but they do live on in our memories and in our hearts. I also hope this blog has given you a better idea of what to expect when ordering a memorial glass signet ring.

If there’s anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly. Alternatively, leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to help.

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Cremation Glass Signet Ring vs Memorial Ring: How to Choose

Are you looking to buy a memorial glass ring to remember a lost loved one?

Memorial glass rings can be a beautiful way of keeping a loved one close to you – it’s essentially means eternalising the memory of someone special, to bring comfort even on the darkest days.

I’ve worked with glass and cremation glass jewellery for over 20 years, and this is now without a doubt the biggest reason my customers first hear about me. In fact, memorial glass rings are the most popular pieces I sell.

However, a lot of my customers also find themselves unsure of how to pick their cremation glass ring – which colour should they go for? What about the type of metal? And then, of course, there’s the style.

Below, I thought I’d help you out by comparing two of my most popular styles of cremation glass ring, so you can get a better idea of which option would best suit you.

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Why choose a handcrafted memorial glass signet ring?

Signet rings are so distinctive. Chunkier than the usual elegant-style rings, this contemporary design is perfect if you prefer something a little different. They also happen to be particularly popular with my male customers, but I like to stress this unisex style can be worn by anyone.

It’s customary – but not essential – to have a signet ring engraved (dating back to the ancient Roman era), and the chunkier style can give you some great options of where to have your engraving.

Memorial glass signet rings can usually be bought in gold, sterling silver or white gold, and I personally use the same traditional glassmaking techniques I use for all of my cremation glass products. Not to mention, these rings are usually custom-made for a precise fit on your finger.

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Why choose a handcrafted memorial glass ring?

Classic-style memorial glass rings are the simple, more elegant option – and one of my most popular products. You can be sure this style will never go out of fashion, and just like signet rings, will truly last the test of time.

Although there’s less surface space for engraving, there is still the option to have a message engraved on your memorial glass ring, with a full choice of silver, white gold or gold options available.

You can read more about the creation process for my memorial glass rings in my blog post: ‘Why Glass Rings are the Most Popular Cremation Jewellery for Ashes’.

These rings can be custom made to fit any size, so you can be confident of the best fit for your finger.

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Advice before buying your memorial glass ring

Whichever type of ring you choose for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, you should always take your time deciding on where to buy. It’s so important to ensure you’re 100% happy and confident in a company before sending off ashes, so always try to speak to someone over the phone, first.

For more information, read my blog post ‘8 Questions to Help You Choose the Best Cremation Jewellery Company’.

Conclusion

I’m sorry the reason that has brought you to this page, however I hope this article has been of help when deciding which style of cremation glass ring to choose for yourself or as a gift for a loved one.

Do you have any questions about choosing a cremation glass ring, or other types of jewellery available? Feel free to leave me a comment below, and I promise to get back to you.

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When Should My Child Return to School After the Death of a Loved One?

Are you feeling unsure of when your child should go back to school after the death of a loved one?

Perhaps you’re worried about sending your child back to school too early after suffering a loss, and you might be especially concerned about how they’ll cope when other children bring up the subject – and they will.

The quick answer is that there’s no right or wrong time for your child to go back to school after a loss, but below, I’m going to use my experience as a children’s grief counsellor to give you some guidance on how to decide.

When should my child go back to school?

Like I said above, there’s really no rule. Some children may want to go back to school the very next day and see their friends, whilst others might stay off a week, or may even go back a day or two after the funeral has taken place. This will really depend on your child and how they are feeling.

To help determine when your child should return to school, the best thing to do is to speak to them directly, and ask them if they’d like to go back to school and see their friends and teachers. See how they react.

Explain you’ve spoken to the teachers beforehand, and that it’s okay if they get upset – they can also have the option of going home if it gets too much. It’s often good for children to have the routine and normality of school, and it can be good for you as a parent to have a little space to get organised.

The most important thing is to give your child options and explain what is happening.

What if my child gets upset by other children?

You may be feeling worried about how your child will react when other children bring up the loss of your loved one or family member – this is a very common concern, but it’s also something you can prepare your child for.

Explain to your child that people will be concerned and may ask how they are. Most importantly, they’ll probably hear a lot of: “I’m sorry to hear about…” Not all children know how to respond to this, and it’s something I’ve come across time and time again.

After lots of discussion with the children I’ve worked with, we agreed the best thing to say was simply ‘thank you’. It really helps the child from feeling awkward in this situation, as a simple, effective ‘thank you’ is all that’s needed.

You might find that they want to speak to their friends about what’s happened, or perhaps their teacher – this is okay, too. You should encourage your child to be open and honest about their feelings, and speaking to someone like a friend or teacher can often really help them through the stages of grief.

What if I can’t keep my child off school?

There may be a number of reasons why you cannot keep your child off school for as long as you’d like; this could be because of childcare, or perhaps your child has important exams coming up and you’re worried their future will be affected.

One child I was working with lost their dad a few weeks before they sat their exams, and after a discussion with the teenager and their mother, we decided it would be best to just go for it in the exams, and focus hard on studying beforehand, safe in the knowledge they could always appeal under exceptional circumstances.

If you have work obligations and genuinely cannot arrange for someone to stay with your child during this difficult transitional period, speak to the school and explain that your child may be upset and need support, but to call if needed. Tell the child this, too, and perhaps have a friend’s house on standby, just in case.

TIP: If you’re worried about sending your child back too early, or your child isn’t coping well with school, talk to the teachers; they’ll understand. Arrange for your child’s friends to come by out of school – then it becomes less of a struggle to see them.

Conclusion

You have my deepest sympathies at this difficult time, and I hope this blog post has gone some way to giving you the help and support you need when deciding on the right time for your child to go back to school.

If you’re looking for ideas for what to do with your loved one’s ashes, you’re welcome to read our ebook: ‘6 Things You Can Do With Your Loved One’s Ashes‘.

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My Child’s Behaviour Has Changed After a Death – What Do I Do?

Are you worried that your child’s behaviour has changed after a recent death?

If a close friend or family member has died, it’s common for children to become withdrawn, clingy, emotional, attention seeking or very quiet – or perhaps just not showing much of a reaction at all.

Sometimes the change in behaviour can be quite dramatic – usually in the case of a sudden death – and you may find this very disconcerting, whilst feeling worried about your child’s well-being.

Below, I’ve used my own experience as a counsellor helping children through the various stages of bereavement, to provide some advice and guidance on what to do in this situation.

What should I look out for in my child’s behaviour?

It’d be unrealistic to expect your child to be unaffected after the death of a close friend or family member, but there are some warning signs you should look out for if you’re feeling worried about your child’s behaviour. These include the child wanting to be on their own all the time, and a general loss of appetite.

Your child may talk about wanting to be with the loved one, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they want to die, too; it’s more a longing to be with the person they’ve lost, and spend time with them again – although it can be said in anger, too.

If your child starts talking about ways in which they would end their life, it’s important to take this seriously and to get professional help immediately – don’t delay.

What should I do if my child is acting differently?

Try giving your child a choice of people they can talk to; it may be a family friend, or another family member, as sometimes children prefer a more informal chat. You can also seek advice as a parent by calling one of the bereavement charities or your local GP/family doctor.

It may be that your child is having difficulty accepting what has happened and is blaming themselves. It could be they don’t want to speak to people close to them due to this fear, so it’s good for them to get reassurance that it wasn’t their fault, along with help moving through the grieving process.

I once worked with a child whose younger sibling had died tragically when in their company; he become very withdrawn, and I did a lot of work with him as he felt it was his fault. It took a long time to get past that part in the process, but he started to move along the stages of grief with my help.

TIP: My blog ‘How Will My Child Feel After Losing a Family Member?’ contains some great resources for helping your child through their bereavement.

Conclusion

I appreciate this is a very difficult time, so remember there are professionals willing to help you and your family. If you’re worried about your child’s behaviour, you should give them plenty of opportunities to talk to someone they trust – or a professional bereavement counsellor if necessary.

If you’re looking for ideas for what to do with your loved one’s ashes, you’re welcome to read our ebook: ‘6 Things You Can Do With Your Loved One’s Ashes’.

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Should My Child Go to a Funeral?

Are you unsure about whether or not your child should attend the funeral of a loved one?

Taking children to funerals can be a bit of a controversial subject, as many people view it as too sombre a setting, and you might be worried it’ll be too upsetting for your child, or that (if very young) they won’t fully understand what is happening.

However, if you prevent them from going, you might also feel concerned that they’ll grow to resent your decision when they are older, as they didn’t get a proper chance to say goodbye.

In the end, allowing your child to attend a funeral comes down to a very personal choice, but that choice should always come down to you and your child – not anyone else.

From my own experience as a children’s bereavement counsellor, I’m going to explain how you can decide if attending the funeral is the right choice for your child, and also how to help them prepare for the day.

Should my child really attend a funeral?

You might be thinking a funeral isn’t the best place for your child, but you’d be surprised how well children handle these situations. Most of the children I have worked with that lost a parent or grandparent and went to the funeral said they were glad they went, and it wasn’t scary like they had imagined.

Some said they enjoyed seeing their cousins and playing after, and a wee bit of normality like this can be very comforting for them. Afterwards, we did a lot of talking about what they saw there and what they were thinking.

One boy I worked with wanted to talk about someone who was crying a lot at his mum’s funeral, and kept saying: “But it wasn’t even her mum.” This amused him and shocked him and was the main thing he talked about; it’s important to take some leads from them.

How to tell if your child should attend a funeral

Firstly, there is no particular recommended age for children to attend funerals, but the older the child is, the more I’d encourage them to go and say a proper goodbye to their loved one.

However, at this stage it’s so important to speak to them about it, and explain exactly what is going to happen at the funeral before they decide. See how they react, let them ask questions, and let it sink in. This gives your child time to digest the information and think about what they want to do.

Make it clear to your child that they have the option to change their mind right up to when it’s time to go, so there’s absolutely no pressure – and that it’s completely fine if they decide not to go, too.

If your child is very young and won’t understand what’s going on, perhaps you’d feel it more appropriate for them to join you at the wake afterwards – which is absolutely fine, too. It has to work for everyone.

How to prepare your child for a funeral

If your child has decided they want to attend the funeral (or even before they decide), it’s important to fully prepare them for the event – especially if they’ve never been to a funeral before and don’t know what to expect.

Explain exactly what will happen on the day – you can even visit the venue beforehand if possible – and that there will be a coffin there; ensure they also have an idea of what that will look like. Tell your child that people will be carrying the coffin, and that a lot of people there will be very upset.

Ensure your child knows that it’s okay for them to be upset, too, before explaining the ceremony and what will happen afterwards – be it burial or cremation – so there are no uncertainties on the day.

Alternative options for saying goodbye

If your child really doesn’t want to attend the funeral, but you don’t want them to feel too much like they are missing out on a chance to say goodbye to someone special in their life, there are alternatives you can suggest instead.

These include:

  • Planting a tree or bush in the loved one’s memory, so they can visit it whenever they like
  • A special bonfire or fireworks with close family and friends
  • Writing the loved one a letter saying everything they didn’t get the chance to say
  • Everyone sitting round in a circle and sharing their favourite memory of the loved one
  • Making a memory book filled with photos and mementos and stories of the person

Conclusion

I’m sorry for your loss, but I hope you’ve found this blog helpful when deciding whether or not your child should attend the funeral of a loved one. It’s important to talk to them about it and give them the chance to decide for themselves if they want to go – but there are other options if they want to give it a miss.

If you’re looking for ideas for what to do with your loved one’s ashes, you’re welcome to read our ebook: ‘6 Things You Can Do With Your Loved One’s Ashes’.

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Can I Give My Child Something to Remember a Lost Loved One?

Are you considering giving your child something to help remember a loved one after they die?

Perhaps you’re thinking about giving them a special memento, family heirloom, personal effect or piece of jewellery to remember a loved one in their life – but are worried they might be too young.

Or maybe you’re feeling unsure of what is appropriate to give them now, and which items to keep for when they’re older – if anything.

As a children’s bereavement counsellor, I know how important it is for a child to have something to hold onto from a loved one, so I’m going to give you some ideas and advice below.

Is it a good idea for my child to have something now?

Yes, it can be incredibly comforting to have something special and personal to hold onto that reminds them of the loved one they’ve lost. This can be anything from a jumper or teddy bear, to a piece of jewellery or family heirloom that symbolises something special to the child.

After my dad died, my mum gave me the money out of my dad’s wallet to go and buy a ring; I still remember going to get it from the shop, and I still treasure it to this day.

A child I worked with used to sleep with his mum’s red dressing gown because it smelled like her, while another boy had his dad’s aftershave and would sometimes wear it to smell the same as his dad – it’s such a personal thing, and can vary from child to child.

When giving the item to your child, explain that it will help to remember the family member or friend, and the nice times they spent together. Sometimes after a death there’s lots of thoughts about them being ill, or the funeral etc. so it’s nice to remember the times they shared before that.

What can I give my child to remember a loved one?

Again, this is an incredibly unique choice, and will depend on what the child is interested in, how old they are, and the items you have access to. Items of clothing can be particularly comforting, such as a special football shirt, jumper, or item of clothing the loved one wore often.

If possible, a special item that is particularly personal to the child and reminds them of the bond they shared with the loved one is ideal – perhaps a special fishing rod, photo album, or a memento from that one trip they went on a couple of years ago.

Sometimes it’s nice to buy two identical teddies before the funeral and have one placed in the coffin, and the child keeps one. Other things can be given in time; days, weeks or months after the funeral, depending on the nature of them.

Cremation glass jewellery is also growing in popularity, and may be suitable for older children – or it could be kept safe until your child is old enough to wear it. Or if your loved one was buried, perhaps a piece of jewellery such as a silver or gold locket with their photo inside, or special ring.

My child is too young – can I keep it safe for them?

If your child is too young for a particular item or heirloom, it’s a good idea to show them the item now, explain to your child that it belongs to them – and its value – and tell them that you are keeping it safe for them until they are older.

That way they may even ask to see it from time to time, and know it’s there waiting for them. However, it’s also important that they can have something else in the meantime, to comfort them – like I mentioned above, an item of clothing or teddy bear are good choices for younger children.

Conclusion

I hope that this blog post has given you some guidance and ideas for when it comes to giving your child something special to hold onto from a loved one after they die. It’s important they have something personal to comfort them in this difficult time and in the future.

If you’re looking for ideas for what to do with your loved one’s ashes, you’re welcome to read our ebook: ‘6 Things You Can Do With Your Loved One’s Ashes’.