Tips for Explaining the Concept of Death to Children

By: Tom Turner
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Children tend to be sensitive to the topic of death and as parents we do everything in our power to prevent our children from feeling sad or worried. We want to make sure our children are protected from the things that may upset them, although as children grow older, death is a concept they will eventually learn about and deal with loss at some point in their lives as loved ones grow older. Our funeral directors here in Sydney, have put together some information that can prepare you this conversation with your children.

Firstly, death is an inevitable part of the cycle of life, and in order to help our children get through times of loss we need to be open and honest about the feelings they may experience at this time, the reason they may feel certain emotions, and how their life will be different after the loss of a loved one. As a parent this conversation is one that is not considered lightly and the decision of how in depth you allow the conversation to go, is completely up to you and what you feel the capabilities of your child’s understanding are and can handle.

Age is one of the most important factors to consider before having a conversation about the concept of death with your child. Each age group processes information differently as they grasp on to the concept and put it into their own perspective. Start slowly with child friendly explanations such as using examples or stories relating to nature and animals and the cycle of life.

Be sure not to use words such as resting or sleeping. These can really confuse children and lead them to the idea that their loved one may come back once they wake up. This can also lead to fear and anxiety when it comes to your child going to sleep. They may develop a fear that they themselves will not wake up, creating a great deal of stress on the child that can be avoided.

Children like to ask questions and explore. If there is anything that your child asks you that you are not aware of be honest about not having the answers for them and see what they think the answer is. As a dialogue with your child develops they begin to create an understanding that is their own.

Lastly, remember that your child is also going through a grieving process of their own. Even though they don’t fully understand the concept of death, they can feel that things are off and different. Allow yourself to be open with your emotions and grieve in front of your children when appropriate. This can bring your child and you closer as you both begin to heal. Remain patient with your children, as they are learning about life as we speak.

Our funeral directors here in Sydney, at Affinity Funerals, are here to help and provide you with the advice you may be seeking on these topics. If you have any questions or would like to speak to our funeral directors, you can contact us here.

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