Queen’s death: Bereavement advice for children

On Thursday 8th September, 2022, it was announced that Queen Elizabeth II had died, aged 96.
The country will now go through a period of mourning and see many changes which young people may be confused or upset about.

Events have been cancelled which they might have been looking forward to and the news is dominated by everything to do with the late Queen’s life and the arrangements for the coming days.

For some children, the news will not affect them but for others, it may be upsetting.

Here is some advice over the coming weeks.

Talk – communication is vital
Even if your child looks like they are unaffected by the news, it is still worth asking them how they feel. They may have questions or want to understand why the news is so big and such a big topic of discussion.
The news may be making them worried about someone in their life dying, or it might bring back painful memories or emotions of when someone they love did die.
Keep finding ways to very gently find out.

Social media
Social media will have a lot of content and coverage. Keep in touch with your child to ensure they are not consuming too much that is damaging to them. It’s important they find out enough to understand, but over-saturation can have a negative effect on their emotions.
Social media can bring fear and anxiety if the content is too much, or not age-appropriate.
Keep an eye on their use and talk to them about what they have seen.


Reassurance
Children sometimes think that because one person has died, someone else will. Reassure your child that the Queen was very elderly and had been unwell. Let them know that a death at 96 is very normal and expected.
Ask them if they have any questions about her death and try to answer them as best you can from reliable news reports.

Commemoration
Your child may want to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II. Encourage creativity so that they can explore their emotions. What they produce may give you an insight into their feelings, as children are usually better at expressing their emotions through art. They struggle to find the words to speak what they feel.

Here are some ideas:

Learn:
Your child might not know much about the monarchy or Queen Elizabeth’s reign.
You could take this opportunity to find out some interesting things together and share what you know, or remember of her. Even if you never met her or saw her, you may remember things from news reports or documentaries that you can look up and share together.

 

Tips:

  • Never say you know how they feel.
  • Try to say things like: “I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in any way I can” or “I will do my best to understand”.
  • Allow silence if it is needed. You don’t need to fill the void with words. Allow your child to think and reflect and be ready to talk when they are.