Tips For Explaining the Concept of Death to Children

By: Greg Hurd
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Children struggle to understand the concept of death and its permanence. They struggle to understand grief or loss clearly so it’s the job of the parents to step in to help. Unfortunately, this isn’t easy. A parent’s natural instinct is to protect their child from every form of pain. Adults want to shield kids from death, which is why they hesitate to discuss it with children. At Weber-Hurd Funeral Home, we encourage parents to take this step early and recommend these tips:

1. Don’t discuss death in vague, unclear terms

Parents try to instinctively shield their children by using vague terms. This can do more harm than good and give children an unclear understanding of death. An incomplete understanding of death can be dangerous for children. Use clear terms to explain how people stop breathing, moving, and when they go away, they don’t come back.

2. Try when there’s no personal connection

People don’t discuss death until the last moment when children are emotionally unsettled. It’s best to explain death when there’s no personal connection to it. For example, your child sees a butterfly or a bird die, explain the concept to them at this stage. Don’t wait for a loved one to pass away to have this conversation.

3. Take your time

This isn’t a hasty two-minute discussion. It’s important to take your time, explain death clearly, and answer any questions your child might have. Make sure your child hasn’t misunderstood anything and ask them questions about what they have learned. Taking time will also allow you to comfort children if they appear to be disturbed or unsettled by the knowledge.

If you want to know more about funeral services and other details, don’t hesitate to call us at Weber-Hurd Funeral Home. We’ll be happy to help. 

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