Information for childminders and adults working in a nursery, preschool, playgroup, day-care, childcare, kindergarten, foundation stage or a school reception class

Under 5s can, and often do, react strongly to their own grief, but also to the grief of significant adults involved in their day-to-day care. Whatever the circumstances, babies, and children under five years of age need to have their grief acknowledged and their distress comforted.

People are often at a loss as to know what to say or do to help a child who has been bereaved by the death of someone important to them. Every situation is different, and children will be affected to a greater or lesser degree, dependent on the circumstances of the death and the nature of the relationship they had with the person who has died.

Most grieving children do not need a ‘bereavement expert’ they need people who care. Early years settings, just by carrying on with their usual day-to-day activities while being aware of the bereavement, can do a huge amount to support a grieving child.