Centre for Crisis Psychology
Research article

New study on grief in preschool children

Martin Lytje and Atle Dyregrov have published a research article "When Young Children Grieve: Supporting Bereaved Children from the Perspective of Daycare Staff" in Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research

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Main content

The study explores how daycare staff perceive children’s reactions to the illness and loss of a parent, the support needs of bereaved children, and the staff’s role as supporters. Data were generated through conducting focus groups with 23 employees from eight Danish daycare institutions. The study finds that staff focus on assisting children to open up about what has happened, process their grief, and reintegrate back into their respective daycare institutions in a positive manner. Most children displayed grief and sadness following the loss of a parent; reactions seem most pronounced when losses are unexpected. Many staff members go beyond what is widely assumed to be their core role during such times. This led to strong relationships between them and the bereaved children. While many parents often struggle following a loss, the support provided in daycare institutions can be both timely and well-suited to children’s individual needs.

Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research