Helping Children Cope With Grief

Guides

What to Expect With Kids Ages 2-4

At this age kids lack a real understanding of death and are generally unable to process the permanence of it. They are very present-oriented and don’t understand that death means “forever.” They may ask the same questions over and over again. Be patient, consistent and reassuring. A child who is grieving may have a series of brief but intense responses.

  • Possible expressions of grief: Regression to earlier behaviors like thumb-sucking and bedwetting, sleep problems, irritability, confusion.
  • How you can help: Provide honest, direct, brief answers to their questions and lots of reassurance and affection. A consistent routine is also helpful. At this age play is their outlet for grieving.