Death is never an easy topic to discuss and can become even more uncomfortable when you have to address this reality with a young family member.
In the mind of a child, the concept of death can be difficult to grasp and to cope with. When discussing the passing of a loved one with youth, there are specific and suggested methods for approaching the topic.
Infants, Toddlers, and Small Children
When discussing death with toddlers, infants, and preschoolers, the most common response is confusion. They are often unable to grasp the permanent nature of the situation. You may need to have this conversation several times. Try to avoid telling the child that the deceased loved one is “sleeping” or “resting,” because this can cause an unnecessary fear in the child about naptime or bedtime. In a sensitive manner, help them understand the concept and reality of death.
It is also a good idea to maintain the child’s daily schedule. Keeping his or her routine can go a long way in helping the child cope and adjust to the situation. Other activities that can help the child grieve include crying, writing, acting, performing, or creating art.
Older Children and Teenagers
Children that are of school age will have a variety of responses to the reality of death. Some may seem fearful, angry, or resentful, while others may even feel responsible for the occurrence. These are common emotions for children and teenagers, as well as adults. Regardless of age, it is important to convey that it is not his or her fault. Let them know they are free to approach you if they ever need to talk. Discussing the death and life of the loved one is also important for a youth in grieving. Periodically check in on them and how they are doing emotionally and spiritually.
If you or a family member needs help coping with the death of a loved one, then consult the compassionate staff at Chapel of Chimes - Hayward. We offer funeral services, cemetery sales, and estate planning. Contact us today at (510) 471-3363. Our knowledgeable staff can assist you and your family step-by-step through the grieving process.