Thank you Joy. I agree with you, we need to listen to children – “Children are very smart and know what they need/want at the moment.” When parents ask me if they should take their child into the room to “kiss grandma good bye” I tell them they know better than I do how their child will respond. I ask them about how the child responds to different situations he/she has experienced – did the child know “grandma” was sick – what kind of relationship did the child have with “grandma” – etc. I then encourage them to have a discussion with the child before going into the room – let the child know what happened – as the child if he/she wants to see “grandma” etc. If the child wants to see “grandma” the I and the staff help explain what the child will see when in the room. I encourage the family to let the child do, say, ask whatever he/she needs to.
When I started in Chaplaincy, among the resources my predecessor left me was a stack of pamphlets from Fred Roger’s Family Communications entitled Talking With Young Children About Death. I found this to be very helpful in helping families talk about a child’s grief. I have given a number of the pamphlets away and have only a few left. You can Google Fred Rogers and the topic and find some good information. How can one go wrong with Fred Rogers?
I found the K-H-T-P Drawings interesting. I knew that allowing children to draw helps them express what they are feeling and where they are at, but I have not pursued any understanding of it. I have had a couple of children draw and then used what they drew to have them talk about what it meant. I have not analyzed a picture to the extent of what is presented in the article. This is helpful to maybe give some insight to where a child is at, but I tend to let the child tell me through the picture. I do remind you I have only done this a couple of times and it has been a while ago – and I recall it was helpful.