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Telling an older child what happened - RESOURCES

Forum: Stillbirth


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September 12th, 2008, 03:54 PM
Ben,Logan&Kaitlin'sMommy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Coping With Death and Grief
by Marge Eaton Heegaard
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Library Binding - 64 pages (August 1990)
Lerner Publications Company; ISBN: 0822500434

Children tell their stories and get an affirmative, supportive reply. Good for all members of the family and caregivers as well.

Aarvy Aardvark Finds Hope : A Read Aloud Story for
People of All Ages About Loving and Losing, Friendship and Hope
by Donna R. O'Toole
Paperback (September 1988)
Compassion Books; ISBN: 1878321250

For ages 4 to 10. Aarvy's mother is taken to a zoo and the animals try to help. After Aarvy talks and talks, he can play again and say goodbye to his mother.

I Know I Made It Happen : Children and Guilt
by Lynn Blackburn
Paperback (September 1990)
Centering Corp; ISBN: 1561230162

For children ages 2 to 6. This book deals with childhood guilt in a super way. Looks at feelings when there's a family fight, a divorce, illness, injury and death. This lets kids know that our thoughts don't control the world.

No New Baby : For Siblings Who Have a Brother or Sister Die Before Birth (Nnc)
by Marilyn Gryte, Kristi McClendon (Illustrator)
Paperback (November 1988)
Centering Corp; ISBN: 1561230413

This is a magnificent little book for youngsters whose mommy miscarriages. Affirms that it's okay to ask questions and the normalcy of play as well.

Goodbye Rune
by Marit Kaldhol, Wenche Oyen (Illustrator), Wenche Yen (Illustrator), Michael Crosby-Jones (Translator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover - 26 pages 1 Amer Ed edition (October 1987)
Kane/Miller Book Pub; ISBN: 0916291111 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.34 x 8.34 x 10.71

A little girl must cope with her feelings when her best friend drowns. Through the death, funeral and grieving period, Sara's parents comfort and reassure her. The explanations they offer could help others who are grieving. This comforting, quiet story isn't maudlin: it depicts the natural stages of mourning. Somber, muted illustrations have a misty quality that helps convey the emotional journey Sara takes through her grief. - AGS (Association of Guidance Services)

The Mats
by Francisco Arcellana, Hermes Alegre (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover - 24 pages 1 Amer Ed edition (March 1999)
Kane/Miller Book Pub; ISBN: 0916291863 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.39 x 9.57 x 10.65

Originally a short story written more than 60 years ago, this picture book tells of a family in the Philippines awaiting the father's return. The father writes that he will be bringing each member of the family a special sleeping mat made by an artist. The anticipation builds, and finally each mat is lovingly unfolded. The last three mats, which have duller colors, are for three siblings who have died: "Do you think I'd forgotten them?" Papa asks. The tender, bittersweet story is illustrated in vibrant shades of yellow, blue, and red, adding warmth to the simple words. A good choice for talking about remembering people who have died or about family life in other cultures. Susan Dove Lempke

The book Waterbugs and Dragonflies is GREAT for children
This site has that book and LOTS of other stuff for children
Here is a good site with bears

Umm... the Sufficient grace ministries, they will send a beautiful bear for your son for free if you explain the situation. Here's a link

The comfort company has some good stuff

often times just getting something soft helps sooth them a bit. Tell him it's a special bear from Clark

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Children of this age know that death is permanent and that everything dies. They often are very curious about physical details.

These children need physical, tangible ways to experience and express grief. Rituals such as visitations, funerals, and memorial services are very important.

Children accept their parents' religious beliefs. A belief in life after death generally comforts children if that concept has been part of their religious beliefs before the death.

Boys tend to have more difficulty talking about death and showing their feelings.


1. Someone emotionally close to the child should be the one to "break the news."

2. Choose a location where you will not be disturbed.

3. Stay with the known facts. If you don't know the facts, find out before telling the child about the death.

4. Be concrete - avoid misleading terms like "He's asleep."

5. Avoid phrases like "All wounds heal in time" and "Everything will be all right." The child cannot comprehend such statements. Say, "This must feel frightening (or confusing)."

6. Simply be with the child. Allow the child to ask questions and answer as clearly and factually as possible. If you don't know, say so.

7. Be quiet and wait. Sometimes it takes a while for children to understand what has happened. The child also may need time to react to the news.

Because of young children's misconceptions of death, you may need to stress that:

- The person or the doctors could not prevent the death.
- The person loved the child.
- The person was not angry at the child.
- The person will never come back.
- The child will be loved. Someone will take care of the child.
- Feelings are all right: sadness, anger, and crying are ok.
- There's nothing wrong with playing and having fun.

You can gently reassure children with these concepts even if they have not asked questions about them. Children may not be able to verbalize some of their concerns right away or may feel too embarrassed to ask you.
Marsha's Girlfriend

My Kiddos
Chloe (14),
Benjamin (9)
Logan (6), Kaitlin (3)

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Rebecca Lee Stillborn 10-30-03
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