Death and the thought of dying can be very frightening for many individuals. This is a part of life that many people have a hard time with no matter what age they are. It is easy to understand why it can be even more difficult for children to deal with as well.
There are some things that parents and caregivers can do in order to help children understand death. This article will examine what some of those things are.
One of the main things that parents will want to do is avoid telling the child that the person is sleeping. Think about that for a moment. Sleep is something that is short term. However, death is long term and children will not understand that. So, comparing death to sleep is not a good idea at all. This will only make it more difficult for the child to understand what is actually taking place.
Next, it is very important for parents and caregivers to simply state the facts related to what has happened and expect the child to be very upset and to ask a lot of questions. This is totally normal and the caregivers should be willing to answer any and all questions that the child may have. Parents that do not believe they will be able to answer the child’s questions may want to plan ahead and ask someone to help them with this task. Actually, some parents may even want to ask a preacher to assist them with this task as well.
If the individual that has passed away was sick before they died the child may begin to worry that they will also die if they get sick, or become ill. This can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for children. Therefore, parents and caregivers will need to spend a lot of time reassuring their children that they will not die just because they become sick. Many children will also begin to worry that their parents, or other loved ones, will die. Again, this can cause a lot of stress for the child. Parents need to make sure that they are keeping an eye on this stress and anxiety. If needed, the child may need to speak with a professional in order to work through their feelings. There is nothing wrong with this, and parents need to understand that sometimes this is needed to help a child get back to where they were before the death took place.
The main things that parents, and caregivers, need to remember is that children only need certain information. The information that is given should be kept short and it should be factual. Yes, it is important to tell children what they need to know in terms that they will understand. However, it is important not to confuse them and stating that the person is sleeping will only create confusion. Always remember that professionals can provide a great deal of support and this may be the way to go after grieving time has been given. This is especially true if the child seems to have a hard time adjusting.