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How to explain death of friend to kids?

Today is a sad day for my kids especially my 6yo dd, whose bff's 3 yo little sister passed away. Now aside from being there for the family I am stuck ;as is the mother of the little girl, on how to explain to our children what and why it happened. My kids are 8 and 6 yo and the mother has two other kids ages 5 and 6 yo. All I have told my dd (since she is really the one who's friends with the girls) is to give her a hug if she sees that she is sad.
Also, my other question is how do I help this family? Do I still take their kids to the activities we had planned before this tragic life altering event? How much time should I let go by before my dd starts asking for her friend to come over for play dates/sleepovers? So many questions and I just can't seem to find answers at the moment. Please if anyone can help with the ones I have posted I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 10:53 PM on Jun. 28, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (2)
  • Theres many many childrens book written about death, they help ALOT. Make sure your child understands that death is not sleeping, they can't come back and visit, and things of that nature. My friend, my kids "uncle", was killed in Iraq, we tried not to let them know what was going on, but my 5 year old figured out we were upset and I couldn't lie to him. We talked about death in terms he could understand...he drew a picture for his "uncle" and gave it to his wife...she placed it in his casket. They didn't go to the funeral, but we did go visit his name on the plaque on memorial day and we celebrate that day every year more strongly now...

    Try to include her friend in as many "normal" activities as you can, invite but be ready to here a turn down, tell your daughter she may not be ready to leave her parents yet, getting into normal things will help the kids move on...

    Answer by tabi_cat1023 at 11:37 PM on Jun. 28, 2009

  • as far as things being planned already, it may be good for the kids in that family to continue with things that were already set, ask your friend if she wants the kids to still participate in those activities. for things that are supposed to happen in a few days, maybe go over and talk to someone else in the family (if they have family staying with them right now) to get an idea of what they want to do about that. as for being there, maybe offer to watch the kids while they are making plans, bring some meals over, offer to help out around the house, just sit with her and let her talk if she needs to if she doesn't want to talk just be there so she knows when she wants to theres someone there. i don't know what to say to the kids, and i hope i'm not in that situation for a long time. i'm sorry for your loss.

    Answer by vabchmommy at 11:39 PM on Jun. 28, 2009

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