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Suggestions for Teaching Your Child about Life and Death

Talk With Your Children About the Cycle of Life – Consider discussing death with them at a time that you can naturally incorporate it into part of your conversation. Consider for example when the leaves change colors in the fall, and then die off only to grow back in the spring. Remember to keep things light and easy initially, offering your children ample opportunities to ask questions.

Acknowledge Your Own Feelings – In order for your children to accept death you must first come to terms with it. Children are very sensitive and likely to pick up on your emotional cues about death and dying, thus if you are uncomfortable with the subject they are likely to be too. Take some time to examine your own feelings and become comfortable with the subject before broaching it with your children.

Be Open and Honest About Feelings – Many parents have a natural instinct to shield their children from the grief associated with death, but this can actually be damaging. It is important that you allow your children to understand that death can be sad, and let them know that you are sad if it happens. It is important that children learn to express themselves openly and honesty and learn how to release their emotions when necessary.

Remember when teaching children about death and dying that their initial reactions may be very different from what you would expect.

Rather than focusing on the spiritual or emotional aspects of death they may want to know more about the technicalities, such as how someone is buried and where they go.

Remember that this is perfectly normal. Address each question honestly and age appropriately when they surface, and your children will come to have a healthy understanding of the death and dying process.