When a death occurs in the family, we tend to exclude children as much as possible in hopes that they don’t have to experience the pain and grief that we, as adults, are going through. Death is a natural part of life that we will encounter through life and as children grow older, they will experience their own grieving process.
Here are some ways you can explain the concept of death to a child:
What is death?
Using the word death can be scary for children, especially if they are unaware and don’t have an understanding of what death really means. You can still keep the conversation light and simple while not overwhelming them. Using examples such as the seasons or plants to explain death puts it into a perspective they can grasp easier. For example, you can use the cycle of life for flowers. They are planted, they grow and when the seasons change they eventually die.
Avoid any terms that cause confusion
Avoid using any phrases such as, “They went to sleep” or “They are resting”. These can cause confusion to a child and even make them scared of going to sleep at night because they think they might not wake up like they usually do. Encourage your children to ask questions about death. Even if you don’t have all the answers, be honest and try talking to them about what they think happens when someone dies and allow them to have their own input.
Be open and honest
Allow yourself to show emotion and grieve in front of your children. We tend to try our hardest to stay as strong as possible to spare children from worrying. By being honest with how you are really feeling, you are demonstrating expression of your feelings. As children grow older, they will begin to understand that this is okay and this is a natural part of healing after the loss of a loved one. This may even bring you and your child closer to being able to grieve together and support each other through this difficult time.
Death is a topic that no one enjoys discussing and can be very overwhelming and emotional. After you have spoken to your child about death and they begin to develop a better understanding, end it off with telling and sharing stories of your loved one. If you have any other questions about this topic or would like to speak to our professionals at, Keyser Funeral and Cremation Service, you can contact Luke or Eric, here.