Tips for Explaining Death to Children

By: Myles O'Riordan
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Discussing death is never easy but it can be especially harrowing to discuss it with a child. Most people don’t know how to handle it so they gloss over the subject as much as they can. That has an impact on a child’s mental development or understanding of this concept. At Wagg Funeral Home, we recommend these tips to help explain such a concept to children in a good way.

1. Don’t Gloss Over

Don’t gloss over the subject or give a child false notion of death. It will only cause more confusion later. Explain everything in clear teams without being too blunt. Children are resilient and have the ability to understand this.

2. Keep Their Age in Mind

Very small children struggle to understand the concept of death so explaining it to them can be difficult. Some parents just use the terms “gone to heaven” or “became a star” because they want to explain things without traumatizing children. Tailor your explanation according to a child’s age. Older children might already understand death, but it’s still a good idea to discuss it. 

3. Use the Right Terms

Words have a bigger impact than people realize, which is why it’s important to choose them carefully during such a serious discussion. We recommend avoiding terms like “long sleep” or “vacation” as that will give them the false impression that death is temporary.

4. Assess their Understanding

It’s a good idea to ask children about death before discussing anything. That will give you some idea regarding their level of understanding. You can correct any mistakes, explain poorly understood aspects in better detail, and even encourage questions. A healthy discussion can prove beneficial in all kinds of circumstances, whether the death is accidental, suicide, sudden, or long-time coming.

If you want to know about funeral or memorial services, don’t hesitate to contact us at Wagg Funeral Home today and we’ll be happy to help.

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