Resources for Children and Teens
Children and teens have complex experiences and feelings when they have a parent or family member with ALS. Not only do they live with the illness in the home or within the family, but in many, if not most cases, they are actively involved in providing some measure of direct care for their family member with ALS.
This program is designed for children and teens who have a parent, grandparent, or loved one living with ALS. The backpacks are filled with age-appropriate resources and materials to help children understand and cope with the changes associated with ALS. The hope is for children to use these materials and resources either with family members or independently. This project is generously funded by The Spencer C. Stephens Flamingo Fund, a donor-advised fund in The Marion Community Foundation. Contact the Chapter office for more information (866) 273-2572 or tell your Care Services Coordinator if you have children or teens who could benefit.
Fun Ways to Help Let Your Feelings Out
- Listen or dance to music.
- Play with your friends.
- Draw, color, or paint a picture.
- Keep a journal and write down how you feel.
- Stuff an old pillowcase with rags and use it as a punching bag.
- Hit baseballs in a batting cage.
- Go for a walk.
- Throw ice cubes in the bathtub.
- Ride your bike, roller skate, roller blade, or run fast.
- Write a letter to a trusted friend or grown-up.
- Make a collage with pictures cut from old magazines. (Choose pictures that express your feelings or that remind you of favorite family activities)
- Shoot hoops with a basketball.
- Tell funny jokes and laugh with friends.
- Play a musical instrument.
- Write a poem about what you feel.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle.
- Work in the garden.
- Knit or sew.
(Let's Talk About) Feeling Angry (Sad, Frustrated etc.) [series on feelings for ages 3-6] by Maggie Smith
Being a kid isn't always easy. These fun stories, along with colorful, humorous illustrations, help young children deal with tough situations and emotions, and learn about being responsible for themselves and their own actions.
The Dandelion’s Tale by Kevin Sheehan [ages 3-7]
In this poignant story about the friendship between a dandelion and a sparrow, young readers are given a reassuring, yet emotionally powerful introduction to the natural cycle of life. One fine summer day, when Sparrow meets a dandelion with only 10 seed pods left, he asks how he can help. Dandelion laments that a short while ago, she was the brightest yellow, but now a strong wind could blow away her remaining pods and no one will remember her. Together, they decide to write Dandelion's story in the dirt, and so Dandelion tells Sparrow all the things she has seen and loved. Later that night, a storm changes everything. . . . But the tale of Dandelion lives on.
From Here to There [ages 4-8] by Ben Keckler
This well-written and beautifully illustrated book is dedicated to Christopher Morrison...His incredible journey through grief and illness was the inspiration for this beautiful book that gently takes the reader From Here To There. Every page encourages the reader to explore the roller coaster of feelings that range from fear, anger, sadness to happiness and peace that come from ...learning about the eternal... This book reminds all who are grieving and transitioning through life's challenges that the journey has to be undertaken if one wants to find healing.
Gentle Willow [age 4 & up] By Joyce C. Mills
Amanda and Little Tree discover that their friend Gentle Willow isn't feeling well. Amanda summons the Tree Wizards, who visit Gentle Willow and determine that they can't fix her. Amanda is angry at first, but eventually she listens to the Tree Wizards as they explain that death is a transformation and journey into the unknown. They also counsel Amanda that the medicine she can give Gentle Willow is love. In a final act of love, Amanda comforts Gentle Willow, who is afraid, with a story about the caterpillar who transforms into a butterfly.
My Grieving Journey [age 5 & up] By Donna & Eve Shavatt
Children from all belief systems and all family situations can use this proven manual for working through the pain of loss. Unlike most other titles, this is neither story nor didactic text; it's a hands-on activity book so children can work their way through the process of grief to find healing.
I'll Always Love You [ages 4-8] by Hans Wilhelm
"In this gentle, moving story, Elfie, a dachshund, and her special boy progress happily through life together. One morning Elfie does not wake up. The family grieves and buries her. The watercolor illustrations, tender and warm in color and mood, suit the simple text perfectly."--School Library Journal.
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children [ages 4-8] by Bryan Mellonie
A pet . . . a friend . . . or a relative dies, and it must be explained to a child. This sensitive book is a useful tool in explaining to children that death is a part of life and that, eventually, all living things reach the end of their own special lifetimes.
Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs [ages 4-8] by Tomie De Paola
Tommy is four years old, and he loves visiting the home of his grandmother, Nana Downstairs, and his great-grandmother, Nana Upstairs. But one day Tommy's mother tells him Nana
Upstairs won't be there anymore, and Tommy must struggle with saying good-bye to someone he loves.
The Next Place [ages 4 & up] By Warren Hansen
"It is quite simply, a treasure! It is one of those rare books that will sell & sell & sell...plus, it will enrich the lives of those who give it and receive it." (Bookstore Owner ) "The concept of timelessness, perfection, love...eternity are all brilliantly and literally portrayed." (Hospice Chaplain )
Sad Isn't Bad: A Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing With Loss [ages 4-8] by Michaelene Mundy
Loaded with positive, life-affirming advice for coping with loss as a child, this guide tells children what they need to know after a loss--that the world is still safe; life is good; and hurting hearts do mend. Written by a school counselor, this book helps comfort children facing of the worst and hardest kind of reality.
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf [ages 8 & up] by Leo F. Buscaglia
This story by Leo Buscaglia is a warm, wonderfully wise and strikingly simple story about a leaf names Freddie. How Freddie and his companion leaves change with the passing seasons, finally falling to the ground with winter's snow, is an inspiring allegory illustrating the delicate balance between life and death.
Incredibly Lonely, That’s Me [ages 8 & up] By Ben Keckler
In the very center of our grief, loss or transitional times is the intense feeling of loneliness! Our world is turned upside down. How will I make it through? When, if ever, will this haunting feeling disappear? If it doesn't end, what will I do? Is there hope when dealing with this dark emotion of loneliness? Who am I now?
Healing Your Grieving Heart for Teens By Alan D. Wolfelt
With sensitivity and insight, this series offers suggestions for healing activities that can help survivors learn to express their grief and mourn naturally. Acknowledging that death is a painful, ongoing part of life, they explain how people need to slow down, turn inward, embrace their feelings of loss, and seek and accept support when a loved one dies. Each book, geared for mourning adults, teens, or children, provides ideas and action-oriented tips that teach the basic principles of grief and healing. These ideas and activities are aimed at reducing the confusion, anxiety, and huge personal void so that the living can begin their lives again. Included in the books for teens and kids are age-appropriate activities that teach younger people that their thoughts are not only normal but necessary.
How It Feels When A Parent Dies [ages 7 & up] by Jill Krementz, Alfred A. Knopf
18 children from age 7 - 17, speak openly of their experiences and feelings. As they speak, we see them in photos with their surviving parent and with other family members, in the midst of their everyday lives.
Tear Soup [ages 8 & up] By Pat Schweibert
If you are going to buy only one book on grief, this is the one to get! It will validate your grief experience, and you can share it with your children. You can leave it on the coffee table so others will pick it up, read it, and then better appreciate your grieving time. Grand's Cooking Tips section at the back of the book is rich with wisdom and concrete recommendations. Better than a casserole!
When Families Grieve – Sesame Workshop www.sesamestreet.org.
The downloadable program from Sesame Street is designed to help families sort through complex emotions, remember the life of a loved one, and find strength in one another.
Memories Live Forever by Sharon Rugg, et.al
This workbook helps children learn that those who die remain a part of our lives through memory, love, and the stories and actions we develop. The words and the pictures in the book, created by children, are filled with heartfelt wishes and caring intentions.
Comfort Zone Camp
Provides online grief resources for adults and teens, information about free bereavement camps for children ages 7 to 17 and support groups for adults and children ages 5 and up.
Cornerstone of Hope
Cornerstone of Hope serves children, teens, and adults, offering both individual counseling and group support in a safe and supportive environment with others who understand. Cornerstone also offers numerous workshops and memorial activities to assist you in the grief journey. Services include: Group Support, Individual Counseling, Art Therapy, Educational Opportunities, Grief Resources.
* Sliding fee scale or certain fees may apply.
National Alliance for Grieving Children
Offers a national listing of programs for grieving children, teens and their families.
The Dougy Center – The National Center for Grieving Children & Families
The mission of The Dougy Center is to provide support in a safe place where children, teens, young adults and their families grieving a death can share their experiences.
KidsHealth – information about ALS for kids
Comfort Zone Camp – camps designed to help children cope with loss, offered year-round around the country for ages 7-17
Grand Theft Donut – Chris Hartman Story