Deciding how to discuss the topic of death with our children is a very touchy subject to think about. But, children must understand the inevitable role that death plays in everyday life. And to understand this fact it is our responsibility as parents to explain it to them in a way that they will appreciate.
Communicating with your kids about death should be a situation where if they have questions, they should feel free to ask them. Also, we can make talking about death easier by being honest about the effects of death can have on those involved.
The topic of death never gets more comfortable to talk about, but there are three ways that you can use as parents to help make the task less overwhelming.
Talking to Children About Death
Before talking to your kids about death, ensure that you are ready for all of the questions that they will want and need to ask during the discussion. Also, as you begin to talk with them about death, be as honest and open about it as you possibly can.
Sugar-coating death won’t make it easier for your child to understand — it will only lead to more confusion about the topic.
Use Religious Figures and References
During times of grief, people tend to find more comfort and strength in religious figures. Before you begin using religious references during your discussion about death, ensure that religion has played a part in your child’s upbringing thus far.
We recommend this because if they have never heard about God in their life, then it can be more horrific than comforting to hear that grandma went to live in heaven with God. At the same time, when speaking about heaven and religion, refrain from painting an overly happy picture.
This is because if a child thinks being in heaven is something to be extremely happy about, then they may connect dying with happiness.
Use Other Situations to Talk About Death
Talking about death shouldn’t be reserved for when a person in the family dies. You should attempt to talk about death during other occasions like when flowers in the garden die, or an insect dies.
This will allow you to provide your child with information about death outside of the usual context. You can also use this time to help your child understand the concept that all things eventually will die; think the circle of life.
To find out more about death, there are various resources you can use.
Share Information a Little Bit at a Time
Children do not have the attention span or ability to process a massive amount of information in the way that adults do. And at times, adults aren’t able to handle vast amounts of information either. When you are talking to your kids about death, don’t do it all at once.
Take the time to talk to them about death in pieces so that they can ask questions and get answers without having to remember everything they want to know. Talking to them in parts also allows them to process the part that you just told them before moving on.
When talking to your children about death, it can be challenging and overwhelming for everyone involved. That’s why we recommend using one of the tips above to make the task less intimidating.
Understanding death will help to shape the way that they approach life. For more ideas or parenting tips for any situation check out our blog.