5 Tips for Explaining the Concept of Death to Children

By: Tom Gallagher
Friday, September 16, 2016

When it comes time to sit down and have the conversation about death with a child, the mood tends to be very sensitive and a discussion that can be uncomfortable. As adults and parents, we try to protect our children from fear and sadness, although, death is a part of life that they will experience as they grow older. Having a conversation with your child about the concept of death will make the grieving process easier for not only you but them as individuals.

Here are five important tips you can use that will help you through this talk.

 

Consider Age:

Different age groups take information in and process it differently. Consider how old your child is and put the concept into perspective that they can grasp and begin to understand. If your child seems to pick up quickly on what you are explaining then you can move forward with more complex explanations, but start slowly to avoid overwhelming them.

 

Use Child-Friendly Explanations:

Children tend to put examples and stories into literal sense. They believe exactly what you are telling them is to be true. For example, if you tell a child that their loved one is resting or has gone to sleep for a long time, they may believe that they will see the deceased again and it may even cause fear of sleeping for themselves. They may develop anxiety associated with bedtime and a fear of not waking up.

 

Encourage Questions and Discussion:

Death is the unknown realm that we are unaware of. Even as adults we all wonder and ask questions as to what happens when someone dies. Some have their religious or spiritual beliefs that guide them in the way they teach their children. Although, it is important that you don’t say things in the spur of the moment to lighten the pain they are feeling. Instead, be honest about not knowing and try asking them what they think happens and begin a dialogue with them. Your child will feel more involved and begin to develop an understanding of their own.

 

Be Open with your Emotions:

We tend to hide our emotions from children to spare them the worry and stress of witnessing their elder break down. The truth is that by being open with your grief and explaining what grieving is can normalize grief and allow them to accept death as a normal part of life. Your child will feel compassion and this will help them to understand the concept of death furthermore than a conversation alone.

 

Patience: 

Children tend to behave in a way that demonstrates how they are feeling on the inside. Children can get very confused with the concept of death and therefore it may show through their behavior. They may repeatedly ask you questions and want to have the conversation more than is comfortable for you as you grieve. Be patient and simply answer to the best of your ability until the child understands.

 

 

If you need any advice or would like to speak to our professionals here at, Nutmeg State Cremation Society, you can contact us, here.

 

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