Look For Ways To Explain Death Before It Happens
Sometimes it is not always possible to try to prepare a child for the death of a loved one, particularly if the loved one passes suddenly or when they are young, but death is a topic that should be discussed rather than avoided. If a loved one is facing an illness that is likely to result in death, you may wish to be on the lookout for opportunities to discuss death with your child. If you happen to be driving by a graveyard or perhaps a pet that belongs to your child’s friend dies, these are good opportunities to bring up the subject of death and explain that it is a natural part of life. Explain that it is natural to feel many different emotions when someone close to us dies, but that death is something that is a natural part of living.
Reassure Your Child That It’s Not Their Fault
Your child may understandably feel confused and perhaps distressed at the loss or void in their life from the person’s absence. When explaining death to your child, reassure them that the death is not their fault, that nothing that they said or did made the person go away and that it is not a means of punishing the deceased. Explain to the child that the loved one is also no longer in any pain and still loves them, even though they will no longer be able to see them.
Try To Maintain Normal Routines
It is important to try to keep the child’s schedule as normal and regular as possible, but also important for the child to attend the viewing and funeral of the deceased loved one. It helps everyone to give and receive comfort and to be allowed to show their grief.
Understand The Signs Of Grief And Offer Comfort
We all express our grief differently. Some children may temporarily regress, or perhaps act out more and display outbursts of temper and frustration. Others may express their feelings in nonverbal ways such as losing sleep or appetite. It is important for adults to express to children that all of these behaviors are normal and that they are still loved and that it is okay for the child to seek comfort from them.
Death is hard enough for adults to understand and accept. Don’t expect too much of your child.