There I was, like any other night, tucking my 5 year old into bed, when I see tears in his eyes. “Mommy, I don’t want to be buried in the ground when I die.” And it hit me, I had never really explained death or dying to my him. I guess I just thought that I would deal with it when I had to. Well, it was obvious by his emotion and fear that NOW was that time. I thought quick and explained death to him in the best way that I could. But I’m still not sure if I said all the right things. So I thought it would be interesting to hear from other moms how they deal with children and death.
Children and Death
Mamas, what are your tips for dealing with children and death?
1. Accept All Emotion
“My grandma died last Christmas, and my older boys were very close to her. It was hard for them. We explained to the boys that GG is in heaven now. We reminisce about the special memories we have of her, and sometimes we cry together. I always try to be very open and communicative with my children, and I think it pays off. They get it. They know it’s okay to be sad and mourn her, and that it is also okay to be happy and remember the times we shared with her.” Allison from Train Up a Child
2. Chose to Talk in a Calm Place
“Talk with your children about your [deceased] loved one in a comfortable, familiar, quiet place. We chose a special place in nature. My loving aunt compiled a remembrance package of my grandmother—a book my grandmother wrote, precious photos taken by another aunt, and a doily my grandma made for each of her descendants. She crocheted many of these—she had 12 children, who had children…who had more. I shared this remembrance package with our children in our own contemplative woods. Choosing this special place to share these memories created another memory—a memory of peacefulness with our sadness.” Heather from Word Play House
3. Be Honest
“We try our best to be open and honest with our children. A few years ago, my mother lived with us when she was living with cancer and when she died we tried our best to explain to our children the reality of illness, treatment and ultimately death. By being honest with them, we hope that we are taking the fear out of death. Now we share stories about my mom, at times we cry, but most of the time we laugh. Death is a natural and unavoidable part of life.” Jennifer from Kitchen Counter Chronicles
4. Share Memories Through Photos and Songs
“Goblin was really small when his Poppy died (grandfather). We took Nanny to stay with us for a few days and she was sitting with Goblin in the back of the car and she started to cry. Goblin wanted to know why so we explained that she was sad because Poppy had died and we weren’t going to see him any more. We show Goblin photos of Poppy and tell him what songs he used to sing to Goblin, and we have taken him to see Poppy’s grave.” The Monko from Taming the Goblin
5. Always Be Open To Questions
“We talk openly about it and support any tears, fears, questions whenever the topic does come up. We also talk about how our WISH is to live a long, healthy life together but no matter what we will always be in each others’ hearts.” Ariadne from Positive Parenting Connection
6. Send Balloons to “Heaven”
“JDaniel’s GranDan died a few years ago and he know he has gone to heaven. He likes to send balloons to him every now and then. All balloon go straight to heaven he has told me.” Deirdre from JDaniel4’s Mom
7. Read Children’s Books About Death
“Story books [about death] are a great things to turn to when you are looking for resources, they help to open conversations with your child and make it okay to talk about things.” Kim from The Educators’ Spin On It
8. Learn Through Pets
“I think owning pets over the years helps children have a better understanding of death and prepares them for when it might happen to adults or children around them.” Kim from The Educators’ Spin On It
9. Learn About Different Religious Beliefs
“I chose not to raise my children with any specific religion. So when explaining death, I tell them that we don’t know for sure what happens, but that different people believe different things. And I use it as an opportunity to teach about religious diversity and acceptance.” Krissy from B-Inspired Mama
10. Teach That Love Is Universal and Never Dies
“I think the one piece of advice that transcends all religions is to tell children that people die, but love never does. The love you received from the person who died is always inside your heart. The love you gave them is always with them.” Danielle from 52 Brand New
Do your kids understand death? If so, how did they learn about it?
Do you have any clever parenting tips or fun kids’ activities? I’d love to share them with my readers. Just contact me for more information!
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