The death of the Queen may stir up a whirl of emotions for many children and young people.

For some it might be the first experience of death, while for those who have been bereaved it might bring back difficult feelings.

Some of our members have offered advice on how to talk to children about death and what could be an especially sensitive topic for them.

Express feelings

Natasha Page, an integrative therapist, advised parents and guardians to be open about their own feelings.

“If you’re feeling a little low or have had a cry and your children have seen you then explain why you feel upset,” Natasha said.

“Allow them to express how they’re feeling in whatever way feels comfortable to them. Some children may verbalise this, others may want to draw pictures or use play as a way of expressing themselves.”

Allowing children to express themselves is a message echoed by Alison Hotchkiss, a children and young people person-centred counsellor.

She said: “There can be times when you sit with your children and let them talk about their feelings, their fears, but also the happier times they may wish to remember.

“Maybe they’d like to talk out loud to the person, to tell them what’s happening in their life, write letters to them, draw pictures, have a special place in the home or garden where the family can go and feel closer to their memories.”

Open and honest

Processing death through creativity is a point made by Lina Mookerjee, an integrative counsellor and psychotherapist.

"Draw a picture or write a story about the person or animal concerned and their feelings of the loss," she said. "That way they become an active participant in their own grieving/making sense process.

Lina also advised the use of clear, age-appropriate language when talking to children.

Speaking on BBC Radio Nottingham, Lina said: “The key thing is being open and honest, so there’s no ambiguity like saying the Queen’s gone to sleep or that she’s gone wherever.

“What does that mean to a child? If we’re saying one has gone to sleep when actually they’re dead a child can think that if I go to sleep am I going to come back? If my parents go to sleep, are they going to come back?”

Lina suggested that turning to nature can help in discussing concepts of life and death with children.

“Use analogies like butterflies and flowers,” she said. “Explain that there’s a process of life.


“Engage in conversation. Bring it out into the open so it’s not frightening but part of our life."

Natasha said some children will want to ask questions about death and what it means.

“It can feel tricky having these conversations but it’s important we explain to children what death is and that it’s a normal part of life,” she said “We don’t want to scare them but we do want them to have a realistic understanding of what death is.”

Alison added that each loss will be unique to individual relationships.

“The people who are grieving are expressing how they feel about missing them in their lives,” she said. “The living will continue but it is a changed way without the person who has died.

“Each loss is unique to the relationship that is over, there is no normal time for it to stop and you feel better.”

She added: “With children we need to maybe explain as much as possible what to expect – from more people coming to the house to talk about the dead person, the process of picking coffins to the funeral and afterwards.”

Counselling can help children explore and understand their feelings about a bereavement. You can find a counsellor via our Therapist Directory.