Grief isn’t something you just “get over”. It is learning strength and bravery in a new way. In difficult times we rely on our strengths to protect us and help us maneuver the rough parts in our lives. When we are feeling extremely sad, angry, fearful, or just plain overwhelmed, it is easy to lose sight of the strengths that are a part of us. Our strengths can serve as a shield in our tough times.
Activity #1: Self Esteem Caterpillar
Ages: Children & Preteen
Supplies: Round circles cut from paper, marker for eyes and legs, a piece of paper to affix the circles, and glue.
Self-esteem is a way of thinking and feeling about yourself. When children feel good about themselves, they are more likely to process emotions, deal with setbacks. overcome obstacles, and experience healing. This activity can help boost self-esteem by focusing on positive attributes the child sees in themselves.
- Start by cutting out colored circles. Write on each one something positive you know about yourself. Examples might be “I am a good friend”, “I have good ideas,” “I am funny,” or “I am brave.” You may be more specific and write things such as “I cleaned my room without being told,” “I shared my lunch with someone today,” or “I was able to give supporting words to a friend today who’s grandmother died.”
- Next, glue the circles to a piece of paper. Position them so that each circle is touching each other to make the caterpillar body.
- Last, draw legs at the sides of the circles and a face on the blank first circle to complete the caterpillar.
- Once your caterpillar is complete, share with a family member all the things you wrote on your caterpillar body. Add circles if you like. Ask family members what positive traits they see in you.
Activity #2: Shield of Strength
Ages: Young Teen & Teen
Supplies: Shield template and markers or crayons.
On your shield, in each section answer one of the following questions. Use words or draw pictures to answer the questions.
What do you like about yourself?
Something you are proud of.
Something you do well.
When you think of the person who died, what do you think are some of the things that he/she liked about you?
What quality in you makes you a good friend?
What do you do that helps support your family members, friends, or others?
Activity #3: I Feel…I Wish…
Supplies: “I Feel…I Wish…” handout
Take some time to read and think about this page. Fill it out and share with someone in the family. Talk about how these answers have changed or stayed the same over time and since the death.