Comfort for Grieving Kids

Young children are naturals for guided imagery.

Q

: My husband died last month after a prolonged, horrific, intense bout with cancer, and I've been listening to your guided imagery tapes. They have been a source of real comfort.



Here's my question: Can they help my children, too? My son is 7 and my daughter is 3. Are they too young for imagery? It's been so helpful for me, I'd like them to be able to do something like this for

their

grief and upset.



A

: I'm sorry to hear about your husband. My condolences to you. Aside from your huge loss, you've got the work and worry of bringing up those two young kids without his support, affection, and opinions. I hope you're doing some things to take good care of yourself, and leaning on the friends and family.



Actually, imagery is easier for kids to use than adults. It's made to order for them. They're complete naturals at it. And even though some of the words on the tapes may be too sophisticated for them, they'll pick up the "flavor"--the music and tone of voice--whether their comprehension is 100% or not. They may be a little long for the 3-year-old, though. So here's what I'd suggest:



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Find a regular time--maybe bedtime--to snuggle up with your arms around them, and just let all three of you listen and relax together. Even if they don't respond to the imagery directly, they'll respond to the intimate, relaxed time with you and to

your

responses to the experience. Above all else, they'll be very tuned in to how you're feeling, and anything that makes YOU feel a little better will be something they'll like, too.

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Belleruth Naparstek
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