ADK Sprouts Children’s Grief Support Program:
High Peaks Hospice offers ADK Sprouts – an art and music based grief support group for children at various locations throughout the large area we serve. We found that interventions using art/play to be more effective in reaching children by breaking through the variety of reading and writing abilities while keeping the experience positive, engaging and interactive.
What We Do
Adirondack Sprouts Grief Support Group helps children who are grieving the death of a loved one. Trained facilitators use art and music-based, age-appropriate curriculum that educates about grief and provides a safe space for your child to express themselves, process their loss, and find peer support as the integrate the loss into their life. Each session of Adirondack Sprouts runs for 8 weeks and is limited to 10 children.
Who We Serve
Adirondack Sprouts Grief Group is for children aged 6-12 from all economic, racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. The program is free for all participants. Funding is provided by High Peaks Hospice.
How We Do It
ADK Sprouts uses an age-appropriate, arts and nature-based curriculum that seeks to educate about grief, support healthy coping skills, and help your child find support through peers and connection to the beautiful outdoors.
Help us support the children in your area by providing referrals.
We are now booking summer sessions plus sessions in the 2023/2024 school year. Opportunities to co-host groups in your school are available as well.
We are happy to answer any questions and have applications and permission slips available for parents.
Adirondack Sprouts Facilitators:
Sarah Chien, Licensed Music Therapist and Children’s Grief Coordinator at High Peaks Hospice
Josephine Moore, Licensed Master of Social Work
Interested in signing your child up for ADK Sprouts Grief Support Group? Click the image below to download your application today.
Is your child participating in one-on-one counseling via zoom/google meets? Please click the image below to download your consent form.
Grieving Resources for Children
Abra-cadabra. Open Sesame.
There is no magic word we can say to help someone move through grief. Grief is a personal journey for every individual, regardless of age. Coping with loss presents challenges for the whole family. Children may not be able to put words to their big feelings and emotions, and they may not understand what is happening. With support, open conversations, and finding ways to keep the missing loved one present, families can move through grief together.
Through the willingness to answer difficult questions, explaining and reassuring, discussing emotions, noticing signs of stress, and showing you care – trusted adults can help children journey through grief.
Everyone grieves differently, and there is no “best” way to grieve, just as there is not a timeline. A child’s developmental stage, temperament, and relationship with the person they are missing are factors in how the loss is felt and expressed.
Answering Difficult Questions:
While trusted adults cannot take away a child’s difficult thoughts and feelings, you can make sure that the children know that you are listening and are available to them to share their feelings, worries, and questions.
Be patient with the child and with yourself. Moving through grief is a process, and you may also be grieving. Children may ask the same questions repeatedly. It is best to answer honestly, giving age-appropriate information.
Listen. The best thing a trusted adult can do is listen when the child speaks. Sometimes, the child may not have the words to explain how they are feeling. You can offer to draw, offer to listen to whatever they want to say, and allow them to explain their thoughts without interjecting too often. If you aren’t sure what the child is asking, ask for clarification.
It’s OK that you may not have all the answers or may not be ready to answer a question. Be honest. If you don’t know the answer, say “I don’t know, what do you think?” as this gives the child the ability to share his thoughts and feelings. If you tell the child that you will find out the information, try to do so. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
Signs that a child may need more support
Grieving is a natural process and takes time, but symptoms that persist beyond six months or are very impairing to the child may indicate that the child might need professional help them move through the grieving process and work with their emotions.
These problems can show up months or years after a loss.
- The child cannot be comforted
- Inability to sleep, prolonged fear of being alone
- Poor concentration
- Ongoing behavior problems
- Persistent regression to earlier behavior in young children, such as clinging, bedwetting, or thumb-sucking
- Excessively imitating the dead person
- Sharp drop in school performance or refusal to attend school
- Extended periods of depression –while sadness is normal, a prolonged loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities could be a sign that a child is struggling.
- Grief symptoms grow worse over time: grief signs should gradually diminish over time. If the symptoms are getting worse, a professional may be able to help the child cope with their feelings.
- Repeatedly expressing a desire/need to join the deceased person: if the child says they want to be dead or wish to be dead, it is important to get professional help.