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Kids Can

The up side of downs

girl looking out at a rainy day


There is something to be gained from loss.  Children who learn to cope with loss in positive ways are happier and healthier.

  • Kids experience ups and downs and there is value in both.
  • As caregivers we want to protect our child, but allowing them to feel the pain of loss helps them develop important life skills.
  • Learning to handle defeat rather than always focussing on winning gives children a more realistic outlook on life.
  • When a child experiences loss and works through it, they learn that they can get through other hard things.
  • Having the experience of losing something gives them confidence that they can cope with other losses.
  • Avoiding a problem doesn’t build the same strength as working through it. Just as climbing a mountain builds muscle strength, working through challenges builds character strength.

   Here’s how you can help your child learn to handle loss:

    child looking at dead bird
  • Let your child experience loss.  If a pet or a grandparent dies be honest with your child about what has happened.  Give them a chance to express their feelings and allow them to be a part of the rituals around loss.
  • Allow your child to experience disappointment. It helps prepare them for life.
  • Help your child see things in different ways by focusing on the positives.
  • Role model how to behave when losing a sports game or facing any disappointment.  Your response will guide your child’s response.


girl with mom looking at tree
  • Go outside with your child and find a tree that is losing its leaves. Discuss how when the leaves on the ground compost they make the soil healthier.
  • Check with your local library for books that deal with loss.
  • With the loss of a pet or a loved one, help your child find meaningful ways to remember them, such as planting a garden or creating a scrapbook.
  • Play ‘Chutes & Ladders’ game and talk about life’s ups and downs.
  • Tell a story from when you were little about how you coped with a loss.