Show 91 – Supporting children when a loved one is dying

When faced with the death of a loved one, children often ask three questions, called the 3 Cs: 1) Did I cause it? 2) Can I catch it? and 3) Will someone take care of me? Learn how simple honesty, curiosity and wonder, and preparing our children for the windstorms in life can be the best gifts we can give our children and ourselves. We don’t need to be perfect…just willing to be human.


Andrea Warnick, RN, BScN, MA joins Wendy McDonnell on Family Matters Radio to help parents and teachers support children when a family member is dying.


Andrea Warnick is a grief counsellor and registered nurse. Through her clinical nursing work in oncology and palliative care, Andrea developed a passion for working with ill, dying, and bereaved children and adults. As a result she obtained a Masters of Arts degree in Thanatology, the psychology and sociology of dying and death, from Hood College in Maryland. Her international work has taken her to Saudi Arabia, Africa, and in the survivor camps of post-tsunami Sri Lanka. As a grief counsellor at the Max and Beatrice Wolfe Children’s Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Andrea provides support and education to families in which a child or teenager is experiencing the death of a family member. She is also the director of Camp Erin Toronto, a weekend bereavement camp for 6-17 year olds.



Andrea Warnick Consulting

Attending funerals

Talking about illness and death

Hospice support in Guelph


Resources for Adults:

Eaton Russell, C. (2007). Living Dying: A Guide for Adults Supporting Grieving

Children and Teenagers. (Available through the Max & Beatrice Wolfe Centre 416.586.4800 x6664 email: max&

Hamilton, Joan. (2001). When a Parent is Sick. Helping Parents Explain Serious Illness to Children.

Silverman, P. R. (1999). Never Too Young to Know: Death in Children’s Lives.

Stokes, J. (2001). As Big as it Gets: Supporting Children when a Parent is Seriously Ill.


Resources for Youth:

Brown, L. K. (1996). When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death.

Goldman, L. (2005). Children Also Grieve: Talking about Death and Healing.

Mellonie, B. (1983). Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children.

Schweibert, P., & DeKlyen, C. (1999). Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss.


Aired live: Sunday, March 11, 2012 0800-0900 Eastern Standard Time on CFRU 93.3 FM, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

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About Wendy McDonnell

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