Why and How to Talk to Children About Death

October 11, 2021 6:02 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Death is an inevitable part of life, but it can be especially hard on children. While many parents want to protect their children from the harsh reality of death, it’s actually a good idea to talk to them about it. This is especially important if you plan to take them to funeral services or if they were close to the deceased.

This is one of the hardest conversations you may have as a parent or relative. Read on for our best tips on talking to children about death.

Why should I talk to my children about death?

Eventually, every child learns about death. Whether it’s due to a beloved pet’s passing, they see it on TV or a loved one dies, you’ll have to broach the topic sooner or later. However, this is a good thing. Talking to your children about death can help them process their fears and emotions about dying, or carrying on after a loved one dies. They’ll feel more comfortable talking to you about what’s going on with them, any questions they have and how they feel. It will also help them—and maybe even you—find healthier ways to grieve a loss.

How to talk to children about death

Death is a complicated subject, and no one has all the answers. Here’s how to approach the topic in a gentle, age-appropriate way:

  • Consider your own beliefs and feelings: Before you talk to children about death, it’s important that you think about your own beliefs and feelings. For example, do you hold religious beliefs that offer a source of comfort? Do you prefer to deal with scientific facts? Have you had experiences with death that color your views?
  • Ask them what they already know: When you sit down to talk to kids about death and dying, ask them what they already know about it. They often pick up beliefs and misconceptions from the world around them. This can be a starting point for your discussion.
  • Keep their age and development in mind: The child’s age has a major impact on their conceptions of death. Tailor your discussion to what they can reasonably understand.
  • Share your views on death: When you talk about death, make sure they understand no one knows what happens afterwards—but you can share your own beliefs and thoughts with them.
  • Keep it simple: It’s usually best to keep discussions simple at first. Don’t lecture or give them long, involved explanations. Let the child ask questions and tell you which areas are of the most concern.
  • Ask them how they feel: Don’t forget to ask your children how they feel, both during and after your talk. Even if you can’t provide them with happy answers, you can at least offer them comfort and love.
  • Offer to answer more questions later: Finally, make sure your kids know that they can come to you with any questions, whenever they like. Your child may need time to process this information.

When you need help navigating funeral arrangements and services, Marik-Baken Funeral Services Ltd. can help. Call today for assistance.

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