Talking about the death of loved ones is difficult for those of all ages, but it can be particularly difficult to talk to young children about the subject. How do you broach such an emotional topic while ensuring kids understand what happened to their loved ones while still feeling safe and secure? Here, the team at Evans Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services shares some tips on talking to children about death.
While it may feel easier to explain death in terms of euphemisms like passing away or no longer with us, this unclear language can be confusing and lead to unnecessary fear. To avoid miscommunication, use precise language, such as dead or dying, to describe what has happened to their loved one. While it may seem like you’re doing your child a favor by skirting around the issue, you don’t want your child leaving the conversation thinking that grandma has stepped out of the room or gone on a trip to return to them at a later time.
On that note, you’ll want to be upfront about exactly what happened. Kids do not need every grim detail, particularly if the death was gruesome. However, when dealing with the concept of death for the first time it is important to explain the biological process of death and its permanence. Was the person ill or aged? Explaining how the death happened can keep imaginations from running wild with alternative, often scary, scenarios. Being open and honest about what happened helps children process the event and sets them up to understand that death is a part of life they may have to deal with in the future as well.
There’s no way for you to have all the answers but be prepared for your child to ask questions. Whether it’s the first time they’ve experienced a death in the family or not, children are curious and tend to be open about asking questions to better understand the world around them. Do not discourage this curiosity. If you are the type of person that has difficulty discussing death, consider taking the time to practice with another adult beforehand. Remember, it’s OK not to have all the answers as long as you’re open to the discussion.
While you may think the easiest way for a child to get over the death is to move on and be done talking about it, your child may continue to have questions or be dealing with new emotions well after they’ve said their final goodbyes at a funeral or other service. It may surprise you to get questions weeks or months later, but sometimes it takes children a while to process their feelings. Make sure your child knows they can turn to you for support or clarity, or even just to talk about the deceased if needed. Be open to discussing the deceased, especially happy memories and events they may have shared with them.
The team at Evans Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services understands that the passing of a loved one is never an easy time, especially when there are young ones involved. We are here to assist you in the planning and execution of the best possible service, allowing you the time to grieve and celebrate your loved one. To learn more about our provided services or to contact a member of our team, visit our website or call one of our locations today.