Many moms contact me with parenting questions. Recently a young mama asked me what would be the best way to tell her daughter someone close to her had died.
After I responded I thought that maybe my blog readers may have the same question. So here are some things to do and not to do when talking with a young child about death:
1. Pray for God's words and wisdom before approaching your child.
2. Don't be afraid to use the "D" words. Death, Died, Dying, Dead.
3. Don't use euphemisms like passed on, transitioned, eternal slumber. State it simply, "She died."
4. Don't say she died because she was sick. If the person was sick say, "She was really BIG sick. Not regular sick (sore throat, flu, cold). If the death was due to a disease, don't be afraid to name it. "She had a disease called cancer. the cancer made her body BIG sick, not regular sick."
5. Do say you are sad and will miss the deceased. This gives your child permission to feel and grieve as well.
After you finish with the telling part, talk about faith. Jesus prepared a place for ________ in heaven. In heaven there are no more tears, pain, or sadness.
The final step is often forgotten but critical to implement.Just as adults need to put compassion into action so do children. But little ones need our assistance in coming up with a plan to help the family heal and feel loved. A few ideas are: make a card, make a meal, or help with a pet.
The supportive activity provides a sense of closure and helps the child to refocus from death to the helping.
Be honest. Don't give more information than necessary. Be available to hang with your child. Your availability is important. Death, like birth, is a part of life.
In my Father's house there are many rooms; if it were not so I would of told you.