Young children and grieving

Hi all, I’ve looked through the site, but can find anything on how children grieve. My four year old nephew lost his granddad suddenly in June. He seems to understand that he’s gone, and shown some common symptoms of child grief: excellent behaviour; asking if I’m still alive when stay out for the night ( we all lived together, granddad, the kids, my sister and me) there’s information on the internet on how best to deal with that. They were really close ( dad and nephew). Anyway this morning he just started crying out of the blue. A cuddle helped and eventually he said he didn’t know why he was sad. He said he felt ‘ big sick in his tummy’. He’s been eating fine and was weepy for an hour so. Every so often through out the day he’s been saying he’ll feel ‘big sick forever’. I’m treating this as grief. Reassuring him, trying to cheer him up, listening when he wants to talk. Given his age, though, I’m not sure. Is he really sick or grieving. Am I approaching this right? If anyone has had any similar experiences please let me know.

Hi Janie, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve lost your dad, and that your nephew is grieving for his grandad. It sounds as though you’re doing all the right things to support him. It is more common than people think for grief to cause physical symptoms - many of the adults on this site have reported physical symptoms, so it would be understandable if your nephew is feeling sick as a result (although, of course he could also have picked up some kind of bug or physical illness).

You mentioned that you couldn’t find any other posts on this topic, so I just wanted to let you know that @Evan0812 posted the other day about supporting a child with grief. You can read and reply to the post here: Helping my son with the loss of his dad

It sounds as though you’ve already been reading some useful information online, but, if it’s helpful, we do have some information on our website about supporting a child with bereavement. The charity Winston’s Wish also have lots of resources on supporting grieving children, and also have a helpline if you’d find it useful to chat things through with someone.

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