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NAN: Helping Children 9 to 13 Cope with Death

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During this stage of development, children become increasingly dependent on their peer group. For this reason, they may hide, minimize or alter their expressions of grief so that they don’t appear different than their peer group.

Between the ages of 10 to 12, children may also express their grief in uncharacteristic ways, such as through anger outburst, irritability and bullying behavior. They may also become moody, complain about physical ailments, have different eating and sleeping patterns and even isolate themselves from their peers.

Children in this state of development are learning to process both the biological and emotional sides of death. For example, children may wonder how a person’s death will affect them and their household or wonder why a family member is so upset.

By talking to the child about his feelings, reassuring the child that he is not responsible for adult responsibilities, like getting a job to support the family, nannies can help the child to feel secure. When the nanny does not have an answer to the child’s question, she should be honest and say that she doesn’t have an answer and when appropriate, commit to finding it out and getting back to the child. 

Michelle LaRoweNAN: Helping Children 9 to 13 Cope with Death