Supporting bereaved families

6 June 2019

It can feel difficult to know how best to help families when someone dies. Here we have brought together ideas and resources suggested by children’s, youth and families pastors from all over the UK. We do hope they will be useful to you.

Organisations that may be able to help

  • Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals both when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, and when a child is facing bereavement.
  • Winston’s Wish supports bereaved children, their families and the professionals who support them.
  • Care for the Family provides a range of support services for people who have been bereaved
  • SeeSaw was established in 2000 to meet the needs of bereaved children and young people in Oxfordshire and has a great range of downloadable resources for parents and professionals on their website
  • Wirral CAMHS has produced a guide for supporting children with severe learning disabilities with bereavement and grief
  • The Compassionate Friends is a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members.
  • The Courage Foundation seeks to support children and families as they live with bereavement of losing a sibling by providing days out, weekends away and annual passes to fun and exciting attractions around the country.
  • Your local hospice may be able to offer support or signpost you to other organisations.

Books for children

  • ‘Jesus still loves Joe’ by Victoria Beech and the Paediatric Chaplaincy Network; this is also available as a free video online here.
  • Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine’ by Diana Crossley
  • ‘Michael Rosen’s Sad Book’ by Michael Rosen
  • ‘Waterbugs and Dragonflies’ by Doris Stickney
  • ‘Badger’s Parting Gift’ by Susan Varley
  • ‘Sad isn’t Bad: a Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing with Loss’ by Michaealene Mundy
  • ‘Tapestry’ by Bob Hartman and Susie Poole
  • ‘Always and Forever’ by Alan Durant and Debi Gliori
  • ‘When Someone Dies’ by Bill Merrington

Book for professionals and volunteers working with families

  • ‘Walking in their Shadow: Supporting Children and Young People Through Bereavement’ by Lex Bradley and Lucy Moore

Other resources

  • Seriously Messy is a really useful book from Messy Church exploring themes of death and grief, which provides material that might be useful for both people working with bereaved families and the families themselves.
  • Simon Parry’s album of songs specially written for children and families dealing with grief
  • In an episode of the Parenting for Faith podcast, Rachel interviewed a minister about how he explains death to children, especially when you’re unsure of their faith and family situation.

    Listen now

  • And in another episode of our podcast, we interviewed Xanthe Barker, a widowed mum of two. Listen here:

On our website we have some articles that may be helpful:


Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay