Why Did You Die? Activities for Children to Cope with Grief and Loss -   Authors: Erika Leeuwennburgh & Ellen Goldring

Thousands of children each year experience the death of a loved one before they reach the age of 18, and some 10 to 15 percent of them experience mental health problems, such as depression, as a result. One study found that childhood grief is correlated with low grades, sleep problems, moodiness, behavior problems, and an inability to concentrate. When a loved one dies, children are faced with a kaleidoscope of feelings, thoughts, myths, and questions. This workbook offers tools that you can use to help a grieving child in your life deal with these feelings.

The first section of Why Did You Die? is for adults. It describes a child's grief process and what can be expected as it progresses. The latter section includes activities you can do with a grieving child. Using an art therapy approach, the activities guide the child through the issues he or she must eventually confront. Different activities help the child express difficult feelings, separate myths from facts, and understand the finality of death. This direct yet non-threatening, secular approach will help children learn, grow, and thrive.


Why Did You Die?: Activities to Help Children Cope with Grief and Loss

Spring 2007 full Child Life Focus Article can be requested

The articles below and above can be found in their respective journals which are identified at the bottom of the page or with article reference.

Leeuwenburgh, E., Omens, S., Goldring, G., Fogel, A., Mondanaro, J., Lynch, T. Kanazawa, M.

The Health Professions: Trends and Opportunities in U.S. Health Care; Editor- Chisolm,  Chapter 21: Creative Arts Therapies:  397-424     

Jones and Bartlett Publications:  Boston, MA

Music Therapy in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit  Edited by: Joanne Loewy

Chapter 3 “Music therapy in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: A Family Centered Care Approach”  39-50

Beth Israel Medical Center ã 2000