Teaching Your Children About Death and Loss

Silhouette of Father and Son Praying

Death and loss are inevitable parts of life. Still, teaching these concepts to children can often be difficult—especially after the unexpected loss of a grandparent or another loved one. Here is some information that could help you teach your children about death and loss:

Consider How Children Think In order to communicate with a child about concepts like death and loss, you should try to understand how children think. Until the age of about 5 or 6, children take everything literally. For this reason, explaining death in euphemistic terms can be very risky. Saying that a deceased relative is simply gone or asleep can frighten the child or cause another sort of misunderstanding. Because children understand the world literally, it is important to be straightforward at all times.

Create an Atmosphere of Comfort When explaining death to a young child, it is imperative to create an atmosphere of comfort. This means being gentle and encouraging your child to ask questions. Maintaining an atmosphere of comfort can help your child understand what has happened more easily.

Be Honest Finally, you should always be honest when teaching your children about death and loss. Don’t use euphemisms or avoid the topic at hand. However, the concept may still be difficult for children to understand. With younger kids, it’s necessary to explain death and loss in terms they’re familiar with. For example, it might help younger children understand death and loss if you explain to them that death occurs when the body stops working.

Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. Neither is explaining loss to a young child. Because death is a part of life, however, explaining death and loss is important and should be taken seriously. If you want to learn more about how to teach your child about death and loss, or make funeral, burial or cremation arrangements, call Chapel of the Chimes Oakland at (510) 654-0123.