Supporting children through coronavirus

Information, advice and guidance on supporting bereaved children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak and our updated services and opening times.

Coronavirus updates from Winston's Wish

Bereavement support during coronavirus

Being cut off from family, friends and communities because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is difficult for everyone, but especially for children, young people and families who are grieving for a loved one. Below you’ll find advice and guidance from the experienced team at Winston’s Wish on supporting children through coronavirus, including information on topics such as telling a child someone is seriously ill or has died from coronavirus, how schools can support bereaved students and how to say goodbye if you can’t attend a funeral.

Useful coronavirus information and resources

We have brought together a selection of useful information and resources relating to coronavirus which you may find useful in helping to support children and young people struggling with bereavement or loss during the outbreak.

Grieving teenage girl sat in chair looking anxiously out of window
How the pandemic has impacted grieving children

Many bereaved children and young people have been unable to grieve during the Covid-19 pandemic and need help to safely explore and express their grief. Download our activities to help.

Funerals during coronavirus
How to say goodbye when a funeral isn’t possible

With the current restrictions around funerals due to coronavirus, children and young people may not be able to attend the funeral of a loved one. Here is some advice on explaining things to them.

school support during coronavirus
How schools can support children

Although you may not see them face-to-face, there are plenty of ways teachers and school staff can support bereaved students from a distance, at a time when they are cut off from their support networks.

Talking to children about coronavirus
Talking to children about coronavirus

Bereaved children, or those who have a member of their family who is ill, are likely to be anxious about coronavirus. Here is some advice on how to talk and reassure them.

Telling a child someone died from coronavirus
Telling a child someone has died from coronavirus

More children and young people will face bereavement because of coronavirus in the coming weeks. Here is some advice on how to tell them about the death of a loved one.

Publications and resources from Winston's Wish
Publications and resources

We offer a range of helpful and practical resources and publications for families and professionals supporting grieving children – please allow a little longer for delivery at the moment,

Prepare children to return to school
Preparing children to return to school

Returning to school will be another period of change and uncertainty for children and young people. Here is some advice on how to prepare them.

managing coronavirus anxiety
Ways to manage your anxiety about coronavirus

It’s natural to feel more anxious about family members becoming ill if you have experienced the death of a loved one. Here are some ways  for children, young people and adults to manage their anxiety.

Telling a child someone has a serious illness
Telling a child someone is seriously ill

Whether it’s coronavirus or cancer, telling your child or young person that someone they love is seriously ill is one of the most difficult conversations you will face. Here are some tips on finding the right words.

Managing grief in isolation
Managing grief in self-isolation

If you are struggling with grief and social isolation, here are a number of ways that may help you to feel less alone, and keep in touch with loved ones.

Separation anxiety in bereaved children
Coping with separation anxiety

Our team look at how lockdown has increased separation anxiety in some bereaved children and offer advice on how to cope as lockdown eases.

Julie Stokes
A message from our founder Julie Stokes

“It is my sincere wish that, as all the adults struggle with their own feelings of loss and bewilderment, we still make space for children to express their feelings in ways that work for them.”

Helpline support

How to get support:

Our bereavement support workers are available to offer information, guidance and support, right away. Reach out on 08088 020 021 or use our live chat (click the blue ‘chat’ button on the bottom right of your screen) between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday. You can also email us on and we’ll get back to you within two working days.

An update on our services

In line with our COVID-19 contingency planning and the latest Government guidance, we have suspended all of our groups, drop-ins and training events and have moved all our services to remote or digital delivery.

Our Freephone National Helpline, along with our ASK email, Crisis Messenger and online chat services remain available to support bereaved families and professionals caring for them. Those families who were already being supported by our area-based practitioners will continue to receive support via telephone sessions or video.

We know that in uncertain times like this, children and young people need reassurance and we know many grieving families will be looking for support.

This webpage will be updated regularly with information, advice and guidance, along with our up-to-date Helpline and online chat opening hours.

As always, we are regularly updating our social media channels. Our Facebook groups (Adults Bereaved as Children and Supporting Bereaved Children and Young People) are a great source of support, and membership opens up opportunities to connect digitally with others who may have had similar experiences.

The well-being and safety of the children, young people and families we support, and the staff and volunteers who enable that support to happen, is our paramount concern. At this challenging time, we remain absolutely committed to doing whatever we can for them, and for the wider community, to stay safe and well whilst still accessing the information and support they need.