Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

How to explain a bereavement to a child.

A young woman all my children know and like passed away. I've never dealt with this and am not sure how to explain it to them. I've got an 8 yr old, two 7 yr olds, two 5 yr olds and a 20 month old. Should I do this separately and then say what to them? And expect what response? :S

Answer Question

Asked by haleykarson at 3:14 PM on Nov. 11, 2008 in General Parenting

Level 1 (3 Credits)
Answers (3)
  • Do your children understand death? I take it that someone close has not passed yet. Are you religious? If so you can tell them that it was time for them to go home to God.

    I would tell the 8 year old and two 7 year old's at the same time...they are close enough in age to have the same explanations given to them.
    Tell the 5 year old's at a different time, and I would not worry about the 20 month old. Too young to understand or remember.

    Have they had a pet that passed away? Or have they seen a movie (maybe The Lion King) or something where death is presented? You can try to go that route, and use examples from stuff they are already familiar with.

    Answer by CarolynBarnett at 3:21 PM on Nov. 11, 2008

  • I told my son when his uncle died that its ok to be sad and cry, but to remember the great time you spent together and how much the person loved them and wants them to be happy...I think the best thing we can do is comfort them... Sorry about your loss

    Answer by Apr1l at 3:22 PM on Nov. 11, 2008

  • depends on how she died. obviously the 20 month won't understand, and the 5 yo is a maybe, but the 7 and 8 yo will. when the person is sick and dies naturally, I tell mine that their body got so tired they couldn't use it anymore, and their spirit went out of it and up to heaven. if they were killed unexpectedly, I will tell them a watered down version, ie she was hurt by a car and her body was broken so much she couldn't use it anymore. you get the theme. I let my children know that this is only one part of their lives, the one here on earth, and that it's ok to die bc their spirit goes to heaven.


    Answer by teri4lance at 3:25 PM on Nov. 11, 2008

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.