How to Talk to Kids About Death

talking about loss

talking about lossIf you think talking about the birds and the bees is hard, just wait until you need to talk to your kids about losing a loved one. The subject is already too heavy for some people to handle in conversations with other adults, how much more difficult would it be with children?

There are different ways parents can approach this subject with their children, but many choose to avoid it completely. This is the worst thing a parent can do; it’s their responsibility to teach kids about how the world works. It wouldn’t do if the first experience a child has with death is reading the obituary of a loved one on

Fortunately, parents have the luxury of teaching this lesson over a long period; we’re talking about different conversations taking place years apart. Laying down the reality of death in a single sit-down is a complete waste of time, and can even be traumatic.

Psychologists recommend that parents follow a child’s three developmental stages of recognizing and appreciating the loss of a life. These lessons often begin early with pre-school fairy tales. Character deaths are considered a good start even for young minds mainly because of the rewind button.

Through such stories, children will learn that death is an extremely sad event, but is something that’s temporary and reversible. Yes, Mufasa and Bambi’s mom do die in their movies, but kids can see them again when they re-watch the film.

When the child gets within the five to nine age range they begin to understand that all things die eventually. These are the ages when they usually see death for the first time through pets. Children often understand the finality of death through such experiences, but keep it distant and see it as something that won’t happen to them or anyone close to them.

When a child reaches adolescence, they should have a clear understanding of the finality of death as well as the fact that it’ll eventually reach them. If a parent imparts the facts of the situation properly, children should be mature enough to cope with this unfortunate reality.

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