As humans, we tend to avoid talking about topics that make us upset, which is why talking to children about death is so difficult for adults. On top of this, we do not know all the answers when it comes to death which makes explaining the concept to kids so challenging. You want to tell your child what exactly happens after people die and whether he/she will ever see them again, but you do not know for sure.
Explaining death to children may be difficult, but you will certainly have to do it at some point. Especially if a loved one has died, children are more likely to have plenty of questions about death. Here are some tips to help you answer these questions about death:
- Just tell them the truth directly
If you have lost a loved one, you will be grieving. Explain to your child what has happened instead of beating around the bush and making up stories. Telling the truth directly helps them understand why you are in pain as well.
- Make sure that you use the words “dead” and/or “died”
It’s common for parents to use phrases like 'passed away', or 'went to sleep', or 'crossed over' while explaining death to kids. Sometimes this just confuses them even more. Besides, research shows that using realistic words like “dead” and “died” has been shown to help kids in the grieving process.
- Be honest and don’t hesitate to admit what you don’t know
You won’t have the answers to all the questions that your child asks, and at such times, it’s okay to reveal the fact that you don’t know. Admitting that you don’t know something helps children understand that death is an elusive topic that is, often times, hard to process even for adults.
Thanks for reading,