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Patient and family resources
Patient and family resources

Helping grieving children

When children grieve, whether they are siblings, cousins or good friends, we tend to be less aware of the impact grief has on their lives.  Here are some options that can be helpful.  Further down the page you will find some great websites. 

  • Scrapbooking - to tell the child’s and family’s story- could be one for each family member- products are available at the Dollar Store once a book is obtained
  • Creating a Legacy Shelf - families can place important things to remember their loved one in a special place
  • My Good Grief Journal for Kids - this app is only available on iPads but allows children (with adult supervision if young) to tell the story of their loved person, whether it be a brother or sister or parent/grandparent or pet. It also includes a journaling space for kids who want to reflect on their feelings not just memories.
  • Temporary Tattooing - families can choose to create a tattoo of their loved child (from a photo or hand/foot print) to keep them connected.  
  • Giving an item from the deceased person to a sibling/family member - this keeps the story alive in many families and the items can be very precious.
  • Charity fundraising/donation - this can be very therapeutic for grieving families and does not have to be large amounts of money- a small gift on birthdays or “angel days”/death days can be therapeutic and make a difference

Access to Children's Grief Programs

Dr. Jay's Children's Grief Centre - (runs in the Toronto area) Dr. Jay's runs events, opportunities and counselling for bereaved children. Referrals are accepted from any source, including self-referrals; download the referral form from their website.

250 Davisville Ave., Suite 405
Toronto, Ontario, M4S 1H2
Phone: 416-360-1111

Lighthouse Peer Support for Grieving children and their Families - (runs in Oakville area) Peer support groups are facilitated by professional staff and trained volunteers.  Support groups meet on weekday evenings, every other week for 90 minutes during the school year. There are breaks in the summer and for school holidays. 

Joining a peer support group- If you are interested in joining a group, contact us at (905) 337-2333 or info@grievingchildrenlighthouse.org. You will be invited for an intake visit with one or our program team members who have years of experience in grief education and child/youth development. You will be able to ask questions, take a tour and explore the suitability of the Lighthouse for your family. Our program team can also assist you with navigation and referrals to other community resources that could be of assistance.

Once you have joined a support group, you are welcome to remain with the Lighthouse community for as long as support is needed.  Some children stay a few months or a year, some come back after several years when their grief re-surfaces triggered by their development or other life events and transitions.  The Lighthouse is there for our community, free of charge, for as long as it is helpful to them.

82 Wilson St. Oakville, ON
(905) 337-2333

Seasons Centre for Grieving Children (Barrie)

Since 1995, Seasons Centre for Grieving Children has been providing peer to peer support for children between the ages of 4 and 24 years who are grieving the death or life threatening illness of an immediate family member. The Centre is founded on the belief that every child deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive and understanding environment. There are no fees for our services. Children are able to attend programs regardless of their family’s financial situation. Seasons Centre for Grieving Children receives no government funding and relies on the generous support of our community.

Address: 38 McDonald St., Barrie, Ontario L4M 1P1
Telephone: 705-721-5437

Seasons Centre for Grieving Children are holding a week-long bereavement camp in collaboration with Camp Maple Leaf this August. It is open to children between the ages of 7 to 16 who have experienced the death of a parent or sibling and campers are welcome to return year after year. It is not necessary to be from the Barrie area to attend the camp.  To learn more about this exciting camp opportunity, as well as other programming being offered by the Seasons Centre this summer visit here.   

Children and Youth Grief Network (based out of Halton-Peel but website information is accessible to all!)

This wonderful organization provides online resources for anyone in the country, including information on supporting children through the death of any loved family member. They have included an educational video series that we encourage you to review as it will provide great resources for you and your family.  

Bereaved Families of Ontario

Several of their sites offer sibling grief groups. Please check out what is available in your local community.

BFO Ontario Children's Programs

Bereaved Families of Ontario - Toronto
Mutual Support
Children’s Program

A free* drop-in program for children who have experienced the death of a loved one.

The drop-in program consists of:

  • Small groups for children ages 6- 12
  • Groups are run by trained volunteers
  • Groups are art and activity based
  • Groups meet twice a month  
  • Caregivers attend an educational support group at the same time which provides information on how to help your child(ren) cope with the death

Where: The group will be held at the BFO - Toronto Offices
              250 Merton St. Suite 202 (Yonge and Davisville). Parking and TTC accessible
For more information or if you are interested in this program please call 416-440-0290.

You must reserve space in the group to attend.

*Groups are free but any donation is appreciated!

Bereaved Families of Ontario- Halton/Peel

Centre for Grief and Healing, we offer support for children and youth who have experienced the death of a loved one. We support ages 6 and up through individual and group sessions.

Children Services (Ages 6-13)

Individual Sessions: Our professional and trained staff work together to create a safe, caring, and non-judgmental space to provide each child with the opportunity to learn, share, and engage in conversation that will help reflect upon and work through their grief. This is done by creating a powerful atmosphere of connection and support through their journey towards a new normal. In each individual session, a peer support worker will have a themed, art-based activity set out for each child to work on throughout the session.

*There are no groups for children currently.

Youth Services (14-18)
Individual Sessions: Our professional and trained staff work together to create a safe, caring, and non-judgmental space to provide each individual with the opportunity to learn, share, and engage in conversation that will help reflect upon and work through their grief. This is done by creating a powerful atmosphere of connection and support through their journey towards a new normal.

Group Sessions: The Art Expression Grief Support Group is a mixed loss group that provides youth with an opportunity to share their story with others who have also experienced the loss of a loved one. This group incorporates different types of art into discussion around common topics related to grief in a safe and confidential space.

For more information please contact:
Centre for Grief and Healing (Bereaved Families of Ontario - Halton/Peel)
P: 905-848-4337
E: info@bereavedfamilies.ca
A: 610-33 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, ON L5B 2N5

Rainbows Children’s Bereavement Program
Rainbows for All Children Canada is the largest international non-profit organization committed to helping children and teens grieve and grow after loss. Rainbows has served with more than 2.7 million youth since 1983. Rainbows forms partnerships with schools, faith communities and social service agencies so they may establish grief support groups and help vulnerable children. Rainbows builds the confidence and self-esteem of hurting children, improves communications, prevents destructive behaviours, and improves academic performance. We have developed seven age-appropriate curricula and extensive, interactive training for the sites' volunteers delivering our services.
Website: www.rainbows.ca  
Telephone: 1-877-403-2733
Email: admin@rainbows.ca

Books that Might Be Helpful to Children and Youth in Your Life

Robert's Press- a great Canadian resource for grief related information and options.  This company can be very helpful in searching for books that are specific to the needs of the family. Check them out!