Grief understanding and reactions
Toddlers may not know what the word death means. They may miss the sight, sound, feel or smell of the deceased person. A toddler may mirror an adult’s grief or emotions.
They may respond to grief with:
- Bowel or bladder disturbances
- Sleeping issues
They may also be more clingy than usual.
How adults can help
There are many things parents or caregivers can do to make death a little easier for small children to take:
- Giving love and attention, such as eye contact, touching, holding, rocking, singing and playing.
- Meet the child’s physical needs, keep up with routines, provide familiar caretakers and be patient during difficult times.
- Avoid words, such as gone away, lost and gone to sleep to explain death.