Barnardo’s Child Bereavement Service – Children’s Grief Awareness Week (18-25th November 2021)


Barnardo’s Child Bereavement Service offers some key messages to support children & young people who have been bereaved.

During Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK (November 18-25th, 2021) Barnardo’s Child Bereavement Service Northern Ireland want to take the opportunity to highlight key messages for anyone supporting a child or young person who has been bereaved.

Started eight years ago by Grief Encounter in the US, Grief Awareness Day was held as a day of remembrance on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Since then, it has grown from strength and to strength to a week-long event in the UK.

According to Child Bereavement UK, one in 29 children between the age of 5 and 16 have been bereaved of a parent or sibling – on average that is one child in every class.  In the UK alone, 111 children under the age of 18 lose a parent every day.

With these figures in mind, it is important to know some of the key things that will help a child or young person who has experienced the death of a loved one. Barnardo’s CBS outlines what the service knows works for children who are experiencing a death:

  • A trusted adult should tell a child about the death of a loved one and be available to talk and listen to them on an ongoing basis.
  • Be HONEST with the child. It is better they hear the truth from someone who loves them.
  • Keep the information simple, factual and appropriate to their age of understanding. You can add more information when they get older.  Use the words ‘dead’ or ‘death’ rather than ‘gone to a better place’, ‘we have lost her’ as these paraphrases can lead to misunderstanding and distress.
  • Children will not take everything in at once. Repeat the story of what happened over and over again.
  • Involve the children and young people in the funeral arrangements. Give them choices without overwhelming them.

Barnardo’s Child Bereavement service recognise the difficulty that adults supporting their child and young people encounter during a bereavement and to this end have an advice line service where parents/guardian/ other professionals, can call and get advice if they are unsure of what to do.

The advice line is available Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 am to 1pm and Fridays from 10 am to 12.30 pm and the number is: 07867372711.

For more information on Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK visit and join in the conversation using the hashtag #saythewords.