One of the harder moments in the tragic day I referred to yesterday was going with the father to tell the siblings that their brother had died. I went back to the house with the father I was with him when he told the 8 year old sister 10 and 3 year old brothers. It was so sad, I was very proud of the father he told them strait up what happened was compassionate and factual. I had never been faced with something like this before. I had no idea that this was the beginning of a journey. On the car ride to the house I began thinking how do you talk to kids about death? I think there is things we can do to prepare our kids because the sad fact of life is people we love at some point will die. Here is my list so far.
Pointers on talking to kids about death
1. Don’t LIE tell them the truth. It is so easy for us to make things up that may even sound plausible don’t do it. For example grandpa is “on vacation in florida”. Don’t do it.
2. Use moments to teach. When a pet dies use that opportunity to walk your child through the steps of healthy grief.
3. Pay close attention to what kids say and don’t say.
4. Don’t give pat answers because they are kids. If you don’t know say you don’t know. The 10 year old brother to the boy who died asked me this “God can do anything pray for my brother to come back to life. God can do it because he can do anything.”
5. Seek appropriate help from books and professionals
6. Use plain age appropriate language.