Talking to Children About Death

Talking to children about death is very important. Yet, as parents it’s one of the most difficult conversations we’ll have with our children.

We’ve collected the thoughts of our psychologists and grief counselors to offer tips and resources on how to best approach this delicate subject.

Tips for Talking to Children About Death

When talking to children about death, use language and concepts appropriate for their age.  Grasping the concept of death could be quite difficult for someone that’s very young or even older children who may not be ready for such a somber topic. We’ve included information about how to talk to children of every age in the resources below.

Take a Direct Approach

When you’re talking to children about death, tell the truth, don’t lie or skirt the reality of death.  Don’t ever say that the person has gone to sleep. This may confuse your child, and give them mixed signals about sleeping. Your child will see adults emotionally upset and crying and it can cause the child to fear sleep, thinking that it will make their family members sad.

Ask and Answer Questions

When you are talking to children about death, ask them questions.  Ask them if they understand the situation.  Ask if they have any questions.  You may be surprised what they do and don’t know.  This will give you an opportunity to respond to what is foremost on their minds.  Again, don’t make up stories, be as honest as possible and reassure them that death is a part of life.

Resources for Talking to Children About Death

We have found the following resources offer a wealth of information on talking to children about death:

Books

Articles

Realated Stories

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