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explaining death to a 4yo

my dd is 4 and she keeps talking about grandma. well great grandma alice died last year and i have explained that grandma is with the angels and god ut she still doesnt seem to understand that we cant go a see her. how can i better explain that grandma alice is no longer with us?

 
laura970

Asked by laura970 at 3:03 PM on Jan. 22, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 19 (7,779 Credits)
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Answers (7)
  • There is a book called What is Heaven like? I read it to my daughter every time she asks about those who have passed and then I let her ask her questions. But in the book the boy asks a lot of questions that she does so it's a really good tool. The author is Beverly Lewis
    genagina

    Answer by genagina at 3:04 PM on Jan. 22, 2011

  • When my Mom died our oldest was 3, he didn't understand why she wouldn't wake up. I had to take him to the funeral home, given the fact that everyone that could have kept him was there... Anyway, when he asked about where she was going I told him that God had a house, it was huge and beautiful and that's where God takes all of the people that were sick on earth so they could be healthy and happy again. My Mom was very sick when she died, so I wanted him to know she was going to be okay, and happy and healthy again. I read the book "what is heaven like", and it helped, but I also think just talking helps. I have been talking about her for the past 10, almost 11 yrs to our boys about my Mom, and they feel like they knew her, even when they never really did.... They carry her in their heart, as do I everyday.
    MrsLeftlane

    Answer by MrsLeftlane at 3:20 PM on Jan. 22, 2011

  • Rather than explain that her grandma is no longer with us, explain that she is dead. She went to a place called heaven and your daughter will see her again when she dies. Heaven is not a place where living people go. (She's not understanding adult symbolism, she's looking for a concrete answer.) I found this book helpful when our cat died suddenly: When children grieve : for parents to help children deal with death, divorce, moving, pet loss, and loss / John W. James and Russell Friedman with Leslie Landon Matthews.
    JSD24

    Answer by JSD24 at 3:20 PM on Jan. 22, 2011

  • adriennfaklya

    Answer by adriennfaklya at 3:40 PM on Jan. 22, 2011

  • i know there are some good books our there--but when my mom/my sons grandma died (he was 3)--we briefly talked about grandma not being here--i said she was in heaven--i pointed upwards, that she wasn't coming back--but he ended up thinking grandma was in an airplane--which was fine for me--because everytime we saw a plane he waved and said hi grandma-but knew she couldn't come back--we also visited the grave site/where her urn was and put flowers on it---as he ages he asks more questions and then is when i get into more details about god, heaven, etc
    jdmyangel

    Answer by jdmyangel at 3:51 PM on Jan. 22, 2011

  • My Busia (grandmother) died last year and my son then 3 went to the funeral. He knows that Busia is in heaven, but to him that means the airplanes. We've been on several family vacations and when I asked him where Busia was while we were on the plane he said silly mommy, this isn't god's plane. So he knows that somehow Busia is no longer here, but she's happy because she's riding in god's plane looking down on us. And when he's very very old he'll go to live in heaven and god's plane and get to see his Busia again. I would try showing your daughter her grandmother is up, and if she thinks you mean a plane, or clouds, or outer space, let her believe that's where her grandmother is now living. As my son gets older he asks more questions but he has grasped the concept Busia is not coming back and she's somewhere "up", and he'll see her again later when he gets to ride gods airplane.
    ba13ygrl1987

    Answer by ba13ygrl1987 at 4:24 PM on Jan. 22, 2011

  • I would explain death to her as gently as possible...that's what I did with my 4 y/o...it's better for her to know now so that she can understand that it's a natural part of life. You can't go wrong telling the truth, just be careful to give age appropriate information.
    the_kimmers

    Answer by the_kimmers at 1:27 AM on Jan. 23, 2011

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