Guide to using a memory box

How to use a memory box with bereaved children and young people

One of the biggest worries that a lot of families have after a bereavement is remembering the person that has died. We do a lot of memory work with bereaved children and young people to help them maintain memories of that person. One of the ways we do this is to encourage them to create a bereavement memory box.

The idea is that young people can put in pictures or items that their loved one had or cherished. For example, some of the young people we have worked with have included their dad’s watch or their mum’s jewellery, as well as pictures or photos. Some children or young people have put things from the funeral or things after someone has died in their memory box.

You can also store items and keepsakes that remind children and young people of special days or the person that has died. For example, a birthday card or anniversary present.

But how can parents, carers and professionals use a memory box with children and young people? Here’s a step-by-step guide about how to use a memory box:

1 Find your memory box

You can, of course, use any old box and decorate as you wish. An old shoebox works well as it has a closeable lid and can be kept under the bed. Lots of families like to buy a lovely, purpose-built memory box, which we sell on our online shop. We’ve got lots of lovely designs, including our special Emma Bridgewater star and polka-hearts designs.

Our memory boxes have built in compartments to keep different belongings and items.

2 What to put in your memory box

Fill your memory box with items that remind you of them, and times you spent together. It could be their watch, or tie, maybe a scarf or their purse. You could include photographs and letters, a postcard from a holiday you went on together or a favourite CD. How about their passport or a pair of glasses they wore? Then, when you want to remember, you can simply look through the wonderful collection of memories in the box.

Try not to simply fill your bereavement memory box with random bits and bobs. Instead, make sure that each object has a story or memory attached to it.

3 Keep a note of why those items are special

Some people like to write a note for each item they put in their memory box, outlining why that item is important to them. This can be a really useful thing to do when you open your memory box in years to come. You may have forgotten why a specific picture is important, but your note will be a nice reminder.

4. Share your memories

Step four is completely optional. Some people like to keep their memories private, but if you’d like to show family and friends your memory box, then that is okay too.

If you do feel like you want to share your box, it can be really nice to share each other’s memories and talk about how those memories make you feel.


How you use your memory box is really up to you, but it can be a really useful way to maintain memories of the person that has died.

Our full range of memory boxes can be found here.

Other resources you might find helpful

Activities for bereaved children
Activities for bereaved children

Download our activities to help grieving children and young people to explore and express their feelings and emotions and to help them maintain memories of the person who has died.

Winston's Wish Memory Boxes
Memory boxes

Our special memory boxes come in several lovely designs, including Emma Bridgewater star and polka-hearts, and contain a pouch to hold photographs and letters.