Understanding children's grief and finding teachable moments


Children will experience many different losses as they grow up. A friend moves away. A cherished toy goes missing. A pet dies. Moving to the next grade means leaving a favourite teacher.  A relationship ends and divorce changes the family. A favourite uncle is sent to prison. A grandparent, neighbour or family friend dies. 

Children grieve differently than adults. In fact, you may not recognize that your child is grieving. You may not realize the degree to which a loss or the "sad parts" of children's books and movies or a news report about a tragic event affects them.

Understanding how children grieve and approaching these important life moments in healthy ways will help your child with the losses that are a part of life. 

In this module you will learn:

  • How children grieve.
  • Factors that impact grief. 
  • Teachable moments to start a conversation.
  • How to talk about tragic community and world events.  

Notes about language:

 is used to refer to anyone who has direct legal responsibility for the daily wellbeing of a child. That could include: other family members, guardians, foster parents and others.  References to "primary caregiver" in videos refer to all of these individuals.

"Children" is used to refer to all children up to the age of 18.

All children are unique. This information is meant to serve as a guide and is not meant to replace professional help.