Primary - Coping with Death or Loss

Coping with Death or Loss (Primary School)

Talking to your child about death or illness

When someone in the family is very ill, dying or has died, everyone copes differently and even adults often find it difficult to express how they feel. Sometimes, as well as sadness, there may be other emotions such as anger or guilt. There are a number of charities who specifically offer support and guidance for children and young people who have experienced a death in the family- many of these also have helplines as well as stories from other families.

Support for families, helplines and more

  • Winstons wish
    Supporting children and young people after a death or when someone in the family is dying.Very good at explaining some of the misunderstandings that can arise for children when adults talk about death. They have a helpline and you can also e-mail for support and advice. Leaflets are available to download in English, Swedish, Polish, Arabic, Bengali and Spanish.
  • Child bereavement 
    A charity with resources for young people and parents including some stories, advice on explaining funerals and leaflets produced by families for children of different ages (under 7yrs, 7-11yrs and young people) For 11-25 year olds they have also produced an App about bereavement and grief which has links for local support and some short films.
  • Cruse A national bereavement charity with a website section for children including some tips on coping written by children themselves
  • Grief Encounter A charity supporting children and young people through bereavement. They also have a helpline called Grieftalk  which is open Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm, plus the possibility of chatting on-line, posting memories or receiving support by text. 


  • Apart of Me App: award winning App designed as a game to help children come to terms with loss and grief. 


  • Cruse charity has a list of recommended books for children 
  • The Tenth Good Thing about Barney by Judith Viorst. A lovely gentle story about losing a favourite cat
  • Mum's Jumper by Jayde Perkin. Suitable for both younger and older children. Available in your local libraray as part of the Reading Well scheme.
  • Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr. Mog the cat finally gets very tired and old and just wants to sleep forever. 
  • If All the World Were by Joseph Coelho. A beautifully illustarted book about a young girl who loses her grandfather. Find it in your local library as part of the Reading Well scheme.
  • Nana upstairs and Nana downstairs by Tomie dePaola. A beautifully illustrated book for younger children
  • Her Mother’s Face by Roddy Doyle.A tender story of a ten year old girl coming to terms with her mother’s death. 
  • Winston’s Wish This children’s charity have produced some excellent books about grief, serious illness and death (including death by suicide) for children e.g. “A Child's Grief: Supporting a Child When Someone in Their Family has Died” by Di Stubbs or “Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine “ for 5+ years. These books can be purchased on Amazon and proceeds go to the charity or directly on the charity website
  • Bridge to Terabitha by Katherine Paterson (10+ years) 
  • Clownfish by Alan Durant  about Daks' dad who reappears as a clownfish after having died a week earlier : "a moving and funny story about friendship and life after loss' 9+years.Available your local library as part of the Reading Well scheme.
  • Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson (10+ years) About a girl moving on after her friend's death - sad, heartwarming and funny. 





Primary - Coping with Death or Loss

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