How To Talk To Kids About Death
Death is an inevitable part of life, but many parents face a unique challenge when a loved one passes on: Telling their kids and explaining what death means. Young children may have a hard time processing what’s going on. Preparing them for what is to come is essential to helping them cope in this trying time, but parents don’t need to make it overly complex. Sometimes, simplicity is the best policy.
How can you talk to your child about the death of a loved one? Here are a few of our top tips to keep this as easily understandable as possible for your little ones:
Offer an Explanation of Feelings
Particularly for children who struggle to name and identify their feelings, parents may need to help them understand their emotions. This can be done by giving them the language needed to describe their feelings surrounding a loss. For example, you might tell them how you feel in the aftermath (sad and angry are both valid emotions) and ask them if they feel those things too.
Let them know that it was good that you loved your deceased family member or friend and that you don’t have to stop loving them just because they’re gone.
Give Them Time To Be Comforted
Some children may not have an emotional reaction when they first hear the news. Like adults, it’s possible that they can’t comprehend or understand what’s going on at first. Even if they have no visible emotional reaction, make sure that you stay near your child for a little while after you share the news. This will give them the opportunity to talk about their feelings or seek comfort from you.
Share Your Own Feelings
As long as it’s appropriate, it can be helpful for your child to see you modelling the reaction to a loved one’s passing. Some parents try to hold in their own tears for fear of scaring their child, but this sends the message to the child that it may not be acceptable nor expected for them to cry. It’s perfectly fine for your child to notice that you are upset by this devastating news.
Help Them Prepare
No matter what the arrangements are for your loved one’s memorial service or funeral, give your child an idea of what to expect next. Explain how the service will work if they’ll be attending alongside you. If not, let them know what they can expect if you’ll be travelling, if they’ll be with a babysitter, or if they’ll be staying with another family member for a few days.
Preparing for Funeral Services
If you need funeral services, consulting Alterna Cremation can help you learn about and anticipate what’s involved. Our cremation in Winnipeg is simple and offers you the solution you need within a framework that makes sense for you and your family. Give us a call today to learn more about our resources for coping with loss and grief.