Death is never easy to accept both for adults and children. The most challenging part would be helping kids cope with the situation, while dealing with your own grief as well. Each child may react differently on the matter of a loved one’s death. Most of the time, their reactions and how they understand death are dependent on their age, life experiences, and their personality.
When talking to kids about death, it is very important for parents to be honest and not hide anything from them. Children will definitely ask questions and as parents, you should be able to answer them as best as you can. Do not shut them out when they have many queries, as you may lose the opportunity of kids being open to you. Tell them there’s no right or wrong way to handle death.
Children who are 5 to 6 years old often see life literally and they would have a hard time of including death as an element in our lives. Upon explaining death, use basic terms and analogy to make kids understand it better. When someone gets ill and dies, or if an accident happened that caused the death of your loved one, simply say that despite treatment and medicine from doctors, the person’s body still stopped working, and will never be working again.
Teens’ take on death will differ from the younger ones. They now accept that death is inevitable, and that they will search for deeper meaning of death of their loved one. When instances arise that your teens blame themselves for the death of a peer, it’s best to encourage them to share the grief and express their emotions.
Parents can get additional help and resources from community support groups and from counselors and books that can be accessed easily.