Blog — Kids Need Ritual

Death Wishes

Advice for Parents Children and Loss Dr Emily McClatchey How do we talk to children about death Kidolences Blog Kids Need Ritual Understanding Death

Death Wishes

Back in October, when I was buried alive in death and dying research (and before my own diagnosis with cancer), I happened upon an article written by a woman in the UK who asked her grandchildren to decorate her husband’s coffin. Yes, you read that correctly. Her beloved husband of decades passed away and right smack in the middle of her grief, she went to the store, purchased a simple pine casket, paint, and brushes and plopped it all in her front yard for her young grandkids to go to town in remembrance of their grandfather. Then she buried him in it.

How insane. I was totally enchanted.

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Kids Crave Ritual: Part Three

Advice for Grandparents Advice for Parents Blog Post Children and Loss Dr Emily McClatchey How do we talk to children about death Kidolences Blog Kids Need Ritual Professional Help Talking to Children Understanding Death

Kids Crave Ritual: Part Three

In times of loss or change, rituals can be comforting to all of us, but especially for children. Yet it is precisely at times of loss and change that rituals are often abandoned—adults become too swamped with managing the accompanying chaos of change that they fail to attend to rituals that could bring peace and grounding. Indeed, rituals take time and forethought and energy, commodities that grow scarce during crisis. It can feel overwhelming to add “orchestrating a ritual” to your to-do’s in challenging times. But I encourage you, for the sake of your children, to consider it.

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Kids Crave Ritual: Part Two

Advice for Grandparents Advice for Parents Blog Post Children and Loss Dr Emily McClatchey How do we talk to children about death Kidolences Blog Kids Need Ritual Professional Help Talking to Children Understanding Death

Kids Crave Ritual: Part Two

Funerals are but one of many ceremonies our society has created to honor life’s passages. We don’t think twice about including our children in other important ceremonies, from birthdays to weddings to anniversaries. In many such celebratory events we even give children an important and central role to play. Why not funerals?

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Kids Crave Ritual: Part One

Advice for Grandparents Advice for Parents Blog Post Children and Loss Dr Emily McClatchey Kidolences Blog Kids Need Ritual Professional Help Talking to Children Understanding Death

Kids Crave Ritual: Part One

Headline events such as weddings and funerals create an obvious need for a ceremony, but there are plenty of other opportunities in children’s lives that call for rituals like moving to a new house, ending a school year, giving up a pacifier or becoming a big brother or sister.

As any parent can tell you, these times of change can be challenging, frustrating, confusing and sometimes even scary for kids (not to mention the adults who love them). Even when a change is due to a positive milestone or ultimately good for a child’s development, children may experience the change as a loss of what had been. This is because all of these events threaten the child’s status quo and can throw a family’s balance out of whack, making rituals especially important.

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Kids Feel Real Pain

Advice for Grandparents Advice for Parents Advice for sick children Blog Post Children and Loss Dr Emily McClatchey How do we talk to children about death Kidolences Blog Kids Need Ritual Professional Help Talking to Children Understanding Death

Kids Feel Real Pain

In times of stress for children, it is crucial to help them maintain healthy and adaptive coping strategies. At these times, you might notice an increase in aches, pains, and nebulous boo boos. Appetites may markedly change. Sleep habits can shift.  Stomachaches and headaches become more common. Children may act out aggression, anxiety, and sadness through their bodies. All of these symptoms are very real and should be treated as such; they are not simply ploys to garner attention.

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