How to Talk About Death with Kids

October 19, 2017

Finding the right way to discuss death and loss with your kids can be a concern for most parents; therefore, many tend to avoid the subject. Death is a part of life, and as a parent, it remains our responsibility to ensure that our kids are aware of it and know that it’s okay to discuss it. Allowing children to talk about death means that we can provide them with the information and answers that they need prepare them in case of the loss of a family member and comfort them when they are upset. It’s important to make it easier for them to talk to us, if we remain open and comfortable with our own feelings.

A part of life

Death is a part of life on many different levels. In fact, you might even be surprised at how much your kids already know and understand about death. Your kids are sure to have seen dead insects, dead animals or birds on the road or maybe have even experienced the loss of a family pet. Don’t forget that kids will read about death in books, experience it in movies or cartoons, and even discuss or act out death during role-playing with friends or their own toys.

However, it’s important to remember that kids develop at different rates and have their own personal ways of dealing with emotions and feelings. It can be particularly difficult talking about death to your children in the case of an accident, suicide or sudden loss. Therefore, if you are dealing with a sudden family death, enlisting the help of an unattended death cleanup service means you can explain what has happened, without them having to experience too much of a change in environment. Children normally associate death with old age and illness, so make sure that you explain that most people live a long time – although some might not. Make sure that you reassure your child and encourage them to ask further questions if they don’t fully understand.

Keep it simple

When talking about death with younger kids, keep your explanations very simple.

An example of this could be that when someone dies, they don’t eat or feel hungry and you won’t be able to visit them again. Remember that as an adult it is your responsibility to provide sensitive and nonjudgmental answers to their questions. Be sure that you can listen and observe how your child acts. Each and every kid will respond differently so remain calm and patient. If you have younger children, talking about death can be particularly difficult – in particular if you have trouble fully understanding what your child is asking you. A question appears nonsensical or thoughtless to an adult, but it could be a sign that your child is seeking reassurance. An example of this could be “when will you die?” highlighting that your child only understands death to be a temporary state. For children, understanding that death is a permanent state can be a scary and bewildering concept. It is important to provide reassurance and make sure that your children understand that death is very much a part of life.

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