Infants and Toddlers
Do not underestimate the ability of infants and toddlers to feel a loss. Although they might still not have the ability to understand what’s going on, they can comprehend loss through the absence of someone they’ve gotten used to spending intimate times with, through an interruption to their usual routine, and through the stress and grief they sense from their parents and the people around them. To help a child at this age cope with this situation, double your efforts in cuddling and holding them — this helps give a feeling of security and love despite the absence of someone.
At this stage, children are more likely to understand abstract concepts such as death. They are also at a point when they have more knowledge about how the body works, so be prepared with specific questions they might have. It is very important that your answers are always factual and specific. They might also be more vulnerable and insecure at this time because, aside from the death of a loved one, they are also going through a lot of changes — so give them sufficient opportunities to have conversations with you so they can express their feelings of pain and grief.
While you might feel it will be helpful to hide your grief to protect your child, a lot of people have found that being honest about their sorrow is better. It helps their children see that grieving is natural, normal, and healing.
Try not to avoid talking about the deceased loved one because your child may feel that you are keeping secrets or that you are trying to erase the memories of the person. In truth, being able to talk about the deceased person, especially the positive qualities of the person, may make way for faster healing.
Understandably, there are a lot of things that should be done at this point in your life, and yes, you might sometimes feel consumed by your pain, but do not forget that your children need you at this time just as much as you need them.