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Tag: death

How to Talk to Children About Death

By on January 4, 2018 in Family

Children learn many things every day, some of them wonderous and enlightening, others worrisome and quite scary. Death can be difficult to accept for an adult; children may not even be able to grasp it. If they learn about death the wrong way, this can lead to confusion and possibly lingering problems, such as anxiety and/or depression.

If your child does not understand what it means to die, and you think they are now old enough, here are some ways that you can discuss it:

Ask Questions

Before you start your talk, find out what your child knows about death. That will provide you with both a clear starting point and areas that need to be included.

Reassure Them

Your children already have a bond with you, but this is a good time to reassure them that it is safe to display their feelings. Listen, be patient, and try to answer any questions in ways that you think they will understand. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest: don’t simply make something up. Make sure they realize that there is always someone there to answer their questions and help them to understand.


You understand your child better than anyone and are aware of what they can comprehend. Thus, use language that is appropriate for their level. While you don’t want to overwhelm a child, the more they can understand that is concrete, the less they will try to fill in any blanks with their imagination. Kids have a tremendous capacity to imagine things (remember your own childhood), so it is possible they can come up with explanations that will simply cause confusion and stress.

For the very young children in your life, the excerpt from SESAME STREET below shows how Big Bird first learns about death. It is quite well done and recommended viewing: