Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy; for children or adults. My children have lost a great grandmother as well as their great grandfather and it was not an easy time. My son was too young to understand what had happened to either of them, but my daughter remembers. My kids may have been small when they both passed away, but thanks to photos, they will always have something to help remember them.
I know that it is not the same as losing a person, but we recently had to say goodbye to our dog, Morgan. My son, who is 3, did not fully grasp what was happening, but my 7 year old daughter definitely did and it was a rough few days. They had never known a day without their dog, so it was hard. There were a few things that we did to help cope with the loss of Morgan, but something that seemed to really help my kids was making a memory book. This worked well for us as we grieved the loss of our pet, but it could work equally as well for the loss of a person too.
Since my children are young, ages 3 and 7, our book was small and simple, but you could make yours anyway you like. As we made our book, we looked at all of the pictures and thought about all of the great times we had with Morgan, which seemed to help my daughter quite a bit. She has taken it out to look at when something reminds her of Morgan or when she is feeling sad.
To make this memory book we used half sheets of construction paper to draw pictures and attach photos of Morgan. We also wrote little notes about her as well, such as the things she loved, how long she was with us, her nicknames, and a long list of fun memories and stories we had about her. When we were done we made a cover and a back page (out of card stock paper for durability), and then stapled it all together.
We didn’t spend any money on this project because we printed our own photos and used what we had for paper. And it did not take us that long to put together either, but I think it helped my daughter to remember all of the good times and the wonderful things about Morgan, and not just think about the sadness.
Making this memory book was a quick and simple way to help my kids cope with the loss of their dog, but it may also be helpful for the loss of anyone your child is close to. I hope this idea helps your child through a sad time like it did my kids. What else have you done to help your child get through a difficult loss?