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how do you explain death to a five yr old?

my daughter's granma died on tues and i havent told her yet, her great granddaddy died when she was four and at that time she didnt understand the concept of the soul going to heaven and the body being in the casket at the funeral,

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avismama

Asked by avismama at 2:06 AM on Jun. 26, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 3 (25 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • you should tell her ASAP
    and you tell her that the person died and that that means they don't breath or eat or sleep any more. They can't walk or talk or play. That they won't be around and that it's okay to be sad. answer all her questions honestly. and as often as she needs.

    my sons adopted mom (before he was my son) died when he was 4. the spiritual stuff is confusing and you might want to leave it out if you think she wont understand. But DS1 and DS2 (who was 3 when his Nana (my mom, my other sons mom)) both understand the fact that they wont be able to see her any more.
    outstandingLove

    Answer by outstandingLove at 2:11 AM on Jun. 26, 2010

  • My mom told me about my gpa when I was in 3rd grade. I was mad that she told me in front of my baby cousin b/c he was about 4 or 5 and I was an older kid LOL but she told me he got wings and went to heaven. he was building houses for us up there now..(he was in construction, owned a company) I got mad she didn't tell my cousin that and actually tell me like a grown up...I was mature enough to hear it...but I like thinking about it how she told me now. I told my kids that their cat, dog, bird, fish, guinea pigs, hamsters, bat...didn't make it-they died. They are in they're new bodies and not hurting. They are happy and are with grandma and grandpa, in heaven. Then I answer questions about the burials, the bodies, what happens sometimes I'm vague about things but I answer them.
    Momchipomkids

    Answer by Momchipomkids at 2:37 AM on Jun. 26, 2010

  • My G'pa died when I was around that age. My Mom took me to the funeral & explained to me that he died. She answered any & all questions I had, even if they were asked months later. When I told her I was sad she said that she was too & its okay to be sad. Because we will miss them. She never mentioned souls & angel wings I think at that age that might have scared & confused me. I think 9-10 year olds would better understand that concept. She told me about the no eating, playing, walking , talking like the first poster said. I would just be open & honest & if she expresses fear about you dying be honest, but also tell her it won't happen for a very very long time. That you will be here for her until you are both very old. I think in telling a child about death their biggest fear is will it hurt? & is Mommy or Daddy going to die soon. I never had fear or trauma, I think it was the matter of fact way my Mom talked to me.
    justgrape723

    Answer by justgrape723 at 11:05 AM on Jun. 26, 2010

  • thanks the only thing is its its confusing to her that gma is at the funeral in the casket but sshe's in heaven so she gets confused
    avismama

    Comment by avismama (original poster) at 5:53 PM on Jun. 26, 2010

  • I explained it to my kids that when someone dies, their spirit goes to heaven while their body stays here for us to say goodbye. To explain spirit I said it is similar to a (good) ghost. Suprisingly, it didn't scare them. :)
    I told them they could still 'talk' to their loved one anytime they want, they just wouldn't hear them talking back.

    Make sure you let her lead the discussion. Don't tell her too much, and let her ask the questions. Kids that age like to be able to visualize what is happening. She might ask what heaven is - I like to tell my kids that it's a place where you are always happy, no boo boos, and everyone is having fun like at a playground.

    If she asks why did grandma have to die - I have also said that god decided he wanted Gma to join him.
    Good luck!
    ARmom

    Answer by ARmom at 9:08 PM on Jun. 26, 2010

  • My little boy was 5 and went with his dad to a funeral home to pay respects for a guy kin to his cousin. When they got home he said "mommy I saw a dead body!" I said "yeah he went to heaven didnt he?" My son looked at me, put his hands on his hips and said "No he did not I saw him in that box!" It can confuse a little one and I tried to explain the whole spirit thing but he just looked at me like I was out of my mind or something.
    heavenlypeace

    Answer by heavenlypeace at 2:19 AM on Jun. 27, 2010

  • I think when you tell kids who are very young that someone is in Heaven, and about angels and wings and souls it can be too much and very confusing to them. They think heaven is like NYC, or disney its a place they can go visit the person that died.
    When my brother died I never mentioned heaven to my son. I just told him that Uncle "J" had died and that we go to the funeral to say good bye. and to talk about him with other people who loved him. That it is okay to cry because we miss him and its okay to share a funny story about him and laugh because he did bring us lots of joy and laughter. And every time we hear a harley motor cycle we will think of him.
    I didn't want him thinking heaven was a place where we could pack an overnight bag and go visit him, I think that would have confused him. just my opinion
    justgrape723

    Answer by justgrape723 at 10:22 AM on Jun. 27, 2010

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