Parenting Tips: How To Help Children Understand Death

Helping children gain understanding of death, when someone in the family dies.

Talking about death can be a very difficult subject to discuss with anyone, let alone a young child. Nonetheless, if one of your child's close relatives dies, you're almost forced into discussing the issue.

And the subject of death never comes up at a good time. It's always at a time that's most difficult for you to talk about death and dying. But it needs to be talked about.

The first experience a child encounters with death is usually of a pet. It might be a dog or a frog, a fish or a cat. You might want to use this as an opportunity to discuss death and dying, in order to make the death of a relative more of a time for you and your family to grieve and less of how to handle an educational process.



The most important thing to remember when discussing death is to be open and honest about it. Tell your child what happens and why your loved one has died. Talk about how they feel and what they should be feeling. Let them know that the grief they're encountering is purely normal. The feeling of grieving is not a fun feeling for them, and it's something that is new to them. But you need to reassure them that you are feeling the same way.

When a grandparent dies, that's especially difficult for a child. Even if it's expected, it's never easy. This is a time when you need to reassure your child that what she's feeling is normal. This is a good time to talk about grieving and how vulnerable we all are. You can talk about how much you need to take care of yourselves in order to live a long time. And you need to make sure your child's emotions are healthy. Sometimes children are known to feel guilt about someone's death. They may think it's their fault. That they did something wrong. That's why it's so important to carefully explain the grieving process.

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