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Supporting bereaved pre-school age children
Babies and toddlers
They don’t understand what death or dying means but they will have a sense of something missing if a main-care-giver dies.
They may be clingier, or cry a lot – signs of insecurity.
Feeding and sleeping routines may change.
Will not have a real understanding of death – that the person cannot come back. This leads to repeated questioning of what has happened and it is important that adults in the child’s life answer in the same way.
It is important to avoid using euphemisms. A young child may misinterpret words from an adult that aim to ‘soften’ the fact that someone has died.