Memory Making Ideas to Support Pupils and Students
Finding ways to remember someone who has died can help the grieving process. When children lose someone important in their life, they may fear that they will forget important or happy memories of them. By creating something physical, it gives children something to actually hold on to.
Memory making can be done in many creative ways. It supports outlets for feelings and often helps with emotional regulation. It can be done individually, 1:1 or in a group setting. Offering opportunities and safe spaces for talking and sharing how they feel is an important part of the remembering process.
It’s worth being mindful too of key community resources, faiths, peer networks, mentoring, groups and clubs that the child may be part of that can support with this too.
A memory box
Decorating a box to put things in that belonged to the person that died or that hold meaning for the child. Items such as a teddy, letters, pictures, clothing, a book, a poem, a letter, a song could go in the box. Children could include letters or cards from friends or dried flowers from the funeral. Also, adding things with scents that remind them of their loved one such as perfume/cologne etc.
A memory jar can be either left plain or decorated. Children and the whole family can write down their memories on pieces of paper or a post it note and then ‘post’ them into the jar. At a later date, it can be comforting to pull one out and read a memory at random.
Decorating and creating a remembrance book is another way to have something physical to hold to remember loved ones. Adding things like poems, letters, songs, photos, scrapbooking stickers and accessories can help children and young people who are grieving.
Growing a plant
Either a bulb, favorite flower or plant that the child can nurture and watch grow. Pansies and sunflowers are among some of the easiest for children to grow. Some people choose to plant a tree in their memory too.
Being able to express themselves in a journal can be a great outlet for older children and young people. It may be something that they wish to share with a trusted adult such as their teacher, parent or therapist.
Having a special day, experience or activity in memory of the person who died. Having a think about what connections and memories to their loved one they would like to include such as place, food, music etc and who they would like with them on their special day.
Lighting a candle and being able to blow it out when they are ready can be a simple but powerful way of marking an anniversary or special day. Having a safe space to be able to say a prayer, poem or to simply be quiet and reflect on their loved one can be healing.
A special walk
Some families organise a walk at a place their loved one enjoyed being or somewhere where they had spent time at together. The walk could take place on the anniversary of the person’s death, their birthday or any other significant date.
Some books and resources that are helpful for children who are grieving can be found on the following child bereavement specialist sites:
Link to useful worksheets: https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheets/grief/none