Why does the sun rise? Why does the dog bark? Why is it like that? Kids ask a lot of questions. It is an important part of their developmental phase. But if there is one question that you may find difficult to answer, it is usually along the lines of ‘Why is that bird dead?’ or ‘Will nana ever wake up?’
Kids are aware of death. They learn about it on TV shows and fairy tales. Despite their knowledge, they have poor understanding of the concept. They cannot grasp the permanence and irreversibility of this life constant just yet.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind when explaining death to your children.
Keep it Simple and Straightforward
When your pre-schooler asks you a question about the loss of a loved one, do not attempt to explain things using elaborate concepts and euphemisms. Keep your explanations direct and concise.
Do not say ‘Nana is in heaven already’, as it will trigger more questions, which may lead to confusion. Instead of explaining that the cause of a loved one’s demise is cancer, simply say their body has stopped functioning and that they cannot be with the child anymore.
Do not Hold Back Your Emotions
Centenary Memorial Gardens advise that adults should be open with their feelings. If you hold back your emotions, you are just shielding the child from the truth. You are subtly teaching them that emotions should be downplayed. By doing this, you are keeping the child from having new life experiences, which is important for their maturity.
Acknowledge What they Feel
Sometimes, kids grasp the concept of death sooner than you expect. When this happens, your child may feel frustrated and guilty. At this point, what they need is reassurance. Acknowledge their emotions and tell them that what happened is not their fault.
Do not expect your child to see the death of a loved one from the same perspective. It is important to be honest with things. It will help your child understand the realities of life.