Talking to Children About Death: Tips That May Help
Talking to children about death, especially if you are in the throes of grief, yourself, can be difficult. In today’s blog article, we would like to give you some tips to make that conversation easier.
Absolutely share your beliefs if you want to, but try to speak in concrete terms, especially to young children. Use the word dead and death, and make sure the child understands that the departed person is not coming back. Children under eight or ten will have lively fantasy lives, but it is useful for children to learn that death is a part of life for everyone and everything that is alive on earth.
Make sure that the child understands that the death is not his or her fault. Children are quick to blame themselves if anything goes wrong, and they can carry shame and guilt into adulthood. Use words and vocabulary that the child will understand. Five-year-olds do not need the details of a neurosurgery gone awry or what type of cancer someone had. The child just needs to understand that Grampa was sick for a long time and his body was tired.
Encourage children to go to funerals now and again, even for people they do not know very well. It is good practice for when they will have to—sooner or later—go to a funeral of someone they were very attached to. Even a funeral ceremony for a beloved pet is a good idea for small child, as practice. Show the child that this is how we honour those who have died who we were close to.
Try to answer questions truthfully in language children can understand. Let your child see that you and others are sad and why that is. This is much healthier than hiding the emotions that everyone is feeling but no one dares to express.
As much as is possible, try to maintain the child’s daily routine after a death, so the child has some familiarity to cling to. Children grieve just like adults, and returning to complete normalcy may take a long time.
You are welcome to call us at Only Cremations (604) 861-9895 in Vancouver, and we would be happy to talk to you about all aspects of cremation and assist you with any funeral arrangements that you may need.
Only Cremations, based in Surrey, British Columbia, provides dignified and affordable cremation services. We believe every family deserves respect, reverence, and compassion. If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about cremation services, please call or text (604) 861-9895.