How to Talk to Children about Death

Experiencing the loss of a loved one presents a variety of challenges which may be hard to process. If you are concerned about discussing death with your children, you are not alone. Death can be a difficult topic to talk about, particularly with a child. As much as we would like to shield children from the fact that all lives will come to an end, we must learn it is acceptable to have these emotional conversations. Children will express their grief in different ways. How kids cope depends on their age, relationship with the deceased, and the support they are offered. We never want to imagine the day we lose a family member or friend, but learning how to talk to children about death will prepare your family for the best.

When talking to your child about death, use simple, clear words.

It is important to be clear and direct, as this can be a confusing time for a child. Approaching your child in a caring way and being honest with the death gives the child a chance to take in the news with no confusion.

Listen and comfort.

Every child reacts differently when learning a loved one has passed. They may cry, ask questions, be curious, or become quiet. Some children may not understand how to react, making it crucial to show support and comfort. Offering reassurance and answering questions truthfully will help the child come to terms with the idea of death.

Teach them to put their emotions into words.

Kids may become quiet after the initial conversation, as they may not be aware of how to put their emotions into words. Encouraging them to say what they are thinking and feeling in the days and weeks following the loss will provide a better understanding. Talking about your own feelings shows them that vulnerability is accepted and comfortable.

Be open about funeral arrangements and celebrating the loved one’s life.

Exposing children to viewings, funerals, or memorial services will teach them the process of honoring a life. Explaining the funeral service ahead of time will prepare them with expectations. For example, tell them people who loved the person will be there to sing, pray, and offer condolences to the family.

Help your child remember the person and the life they lived.

Although death is a sad, emotional journey, now is the time to teach a child about celebration of life. Take this moment to recognize the love they offered and lives that were positively impacted. Following the funeral service, encourage your child to remember the person by recalling their favorite memories with them. Their love will last years beyond their life.

Diehl-Whittaker is a funeral service in Columbus, Ohio who makes every effort to reflect the quality of your loved one’s life.

The care your family deserves, at a cost your family can afford.

Contact us today for burial packages, cremation packages, and pre-planning assistance.

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