Action Plan 2: Supporting Young Children Through a Family Loss

Resources for Action Plan 2

Article: KidsAid. (n.d.). Young children and grief. Retrieved February 13, 2009, from https://kidsaid.com/dougypage.html

Article: Hecker, B. (2005). Magical thinking: Children may blame themselves for a parent’s illness and death. Retrieved from https://medicalcenter.osu.edu/viewer/Pages/index.aspx?p=413

Article: The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children. (n.d.). Infant and toddler grief. Retrieved February 13, 2009, from https://www.tlcinst.org/toddlergrief.html

Article: Kids Health. (n.d.). Helping your child deal with death. Retrieved June 23, 2011, from
https://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/death.html
Article: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (n.d.). Facts for families: Children and grief [Fact sheet]. Retrieved February 13, 2009, from https://aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/children_and_grief

Before you create your Action Plan, consider:

What does an early childhood professional need to know in order to understand the situation and needs of these children and families?
What ideas and advice from experts may be useful in assisting children and families?
What can early childhood professionals do to help, either directly, by suggesting activities and advice, or by referring the family to other community resources and professionals?
As you prepare this Action Plan, keep the focus on gathering and identifying the knowledge and ideas that you can best share with parents and other key adults. Remember that working directly with children as a grief counselor is an area of expertise that you may choose to pursue. However, as an early childhood professional, you are most qualified to help young children in this area by supporting the significant adults in their lives and remaining consistent, sensitive, and caring.

Follow these steps to create your Action Plan:

1. What You Need to Know: Learning About How Children at Different Ages Respond to Death

Naturally, children respond to situations in their own ways often based on where they are developmentally; sometimes based on temperament. Keep this uniqueness in mind as you read the following articles on children and grief. Although there is some overlap, you will find that all three help to clarify how young children of different ages respond to death. As you read, take notes on important developmental information and ideas that you think are important to share with parents/family members:

Young Children and Grief (PDF)
Magical Thinking: Children May Blame Themselves for a Parent’s Illness and Death (PDF)
2. Ideas and Advice: Checking Resources

Think concretely about how best to help the parents/family members of an infant, a toddler, and a preschooler. Check your notes from reading the articles above. As needed, skim the articles again for key concepts about how young children perceive death and specific ways to support each age to share with parents/family members. Access these articles below as additional resources:

Infant and Toddler Grief (PDF)
Helping Your Child Deal with Death and Loss (PDF)
Facts for Families: Children and Grief
3. Taking Action: Supporting the Whole Family in Responding to Loss

With knowledge and ideas in hand, you’re ready to suggest ways to support young children in dealing with a family loss. Use the information and advice from the articles to make your plan. Think of it as preparing a script for meeting with the parents or other significant family adults. Include the following in your plan.

****Assignment:

**Part I: Supporting an Infant

Explain in your own words:

Developmental information about what an infant may feel or understand about a family death
Possible ways that an infant may respond to a family death
Specific advice from experts on how to help an infant through a family loss

**Part II: Supporting a Toddler

Explain in your own words:

Developmental information about what a toddler may feel, believe, or understand about a family death

Possible ways that a toddler may respond to a family death
Specific advice from experts on how to help a toddler through a family loss

**Part III: Supporting a Preschooler

Explain in your own words:

Developmental information about what a preschooler may feel, believe, or understand about a family death

Possible ways that a preschooler may respond to a family death
Three specific ideas or activities the family can do at home to help a preschooler through a family loss

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