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How do I talk about death to a 3 year old

A couple days ago my grandmother was put on "comfort measure" by hospice. She is at home and not the hospital. No one knows how long she has but she isn't eating much or drinking much. I am planning on traveling to visit soon (today or tomorrow) to see her and I'm thinking of taking the boys with me. I'm not too worried about Devin, at 15 months old he isn't aware enough to understand grandma's health or question her absents from his life. However Chris is 3 and I know he talking about going to see great-grandma and would question her absents. So my question is. . . How do I explain death on a level that a 3 year old would understand? I have to add that we have not discussed religion very much with our boys so this hinders some of our conversations.

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Asked by chrissmom734 at 2:27 PM on Apr. 28, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 10 (390 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • I do not consider myself to be very religious but my daughter is 6 and since she was 3 we have had conos in age appropriate doses about death. Simply she knows that there is a god, heaven, and angels and she has been told that god and the angels take your soul to heaven when you pass on. thats it over the years she has added her own thoughts about it and that is fine

    Answer by JNLmomme09 at 2:32 PM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • here's what we did with one of our children when tye were that age when Grandpa died. The angels came to take grandpa to God, So grandpa could watch over and pray for us. The simpler the better. Just find a simple way to tell your son what you believe.

    Answer by daps at 2:53 PM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • We didnt discuss death much and even when my grandfather died unexpectedly in 2009 we didnt talk much about it with our kids(they were 5, 3, and a bit over a year). We told them Grandpa Greats body got sick and it stopped working and his spirit went up to the sky to watch over us.

    That was enough for them so we left it there.

    Answer by Amaranth361 at 3:38 PM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • We have a book called The 10th Good Thing About Barney; it's about pet death but it is something they "get." My kids were 2 and almost 4 when my grandmother died. They really didn't really understand. They knew she had fallen, they were there when she fell and knew that her body had shut down. The rest of it kind of sank in that we no longer went to visit her.

    Oddly, whenever they were really sad about something, they would go read that book. And in 2009, when FIL passed away, they read it to their little brother who was 4.

    Answer by balagan_imma at 3:49 PM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • thank you for your responses Grandma passed at 4:30 today.

    Comment by chrissmom734 (original poster) at 4:58 PM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • OP~*hugs*

    Answer by Amaranth361 at 5:57 PM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • I'm sorry about your loss. I will tell you the same thing I told my 4 year old last year when she expienced that particular part of life's circle. Your grand-pa passed this morning. You may not be able to see him anymore, but he wanted me to tell you he will be watching over you always. It was his time to move on but, he loves you very much!

    Answer by Motherdragon at 6:26 PM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • Bump

    Answer by hill_star03 at 11:19 PM on Apr. 28, 2011

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