As a parent, you want to protect your children from the harsh realities of life for as long as possible. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to do that. Sometimes the death of a pet, family member or close friend occurs well before you believe your children are ready to deal with it. And sadly, there are reports of violence like mass shootings on the news most days. But while it’s not always easy to shield them, here are six sensible tips to help children deal with death better.
Six Tips to Help Children Deal with Death
Here are six of the best tips to help children deal with death and start to heal their feelings of grief or loss:
- Always be honest. Don’t tell your child that their pet went to live on a farm or their grandparent has moved away. Explain the situation to them as simply and calmly as possible. Just by showing your care and concern, you can help your child feel better.
- Put things in the proper context for your child. Explain death in the way befitting your personal religion, beliefs, or ideals. This will help give children a more solid understanding of death and where their loved ones have gone.
- Prepare yourself for questions. It is important that you answer any questions your child might have. This can be quite heartbreaking, but try to keep yourself calm. Prepare yourself before talking to your child. Take a few moments to gather your thoughts, and then speak with your children.
- Offer plenty of hugs, kisses, cuddle sessions, or whatever support your child needs. But also, be ready to let them spend “alone time” if they feel that is what they need. Every child is different and will require different things to cope. So, ask them what they need, and listen closely.
- Encourage self-care. Gently remind your child to eat, drink, and take care of themselves. And, lead by example by doing the same for yourself, too.
- Offer some comfort and closure to your child. Try telling happy stories of the pet or loved one who has passed away. If your child is not ready, allow them to wait until they are.
If you use the above tips, you can help children to deal with death in the best way possible. It is never easy, but ensuring your child can cope in a healthy way is important. Support each other as a family and give your child the time they need to heal. Remember, these skills will carry them throughout their lives whenever there is a death or disaster.