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How do I explain the death of our beloved dog to my 3 year old?

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Asked by TiffaniR at 2:45 PM on Aug. 25, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (3)
  • I'm not sure if your religious or not. But I would tell your child that your dog is heaven and is safe with Jesus. I would explain that your dog is happy there and Jesus is taking good care of him/her. I hope this helps.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:38 PM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • At his/her age they see death as temporary. They need to be told, often more than once, that the pet doesn't hear or see anymore, stops moving, and that it will never be alive again. The child should be assured that they did not cause the death. The word death should be used and explained as permanent. Questions should be answered honestly. The child may want to create a memorial for the pet. The child will take cues from their parents, and the parents should help the child understand about grieving and avoid projecting over concerns about the child's grieving, which would confuse the child. (I found all of this by googling various sites, I hope some of it helps. and I am very sorry for your loss, I know it is awfully painful. Give yourself plenty of time to grieve, yourself.)

    Answer by Bmat at 6:40 PM on Aug. 25, 2009

  • Simply and honestly. Don't over do the explanation. 3 year olds don't fully grasp the concept of time. Don't be surprised by the reaction. Some kids will just say oh ok and move on to the next thing and then weeks or months later bring up the subject again. Others are more sensitive and emotional and may go thru a grieving process. But don't let the grief become an excuse for bad behavior either. Our children watch us and learn much from our reactions to things, so be aware of your own feelings. Sorry for your loss, pets are family too!

    Answer by jessa1091 at 12:28 PM on Aug. 26, 2009

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