How to talk help your kids deal with death

3 things we learned on ParentsCanada Talk Radio this week.

This had to be the first time both co-hosts ended up crying in the Sauga 960 booth.

This week, we talked about death and grieving. It wasn’t an easy topic. Whether it’s the recent loss of a pet, or talking to your kids about Kobe Bryant, there is an important case to be made for making death…part of life. Here’s what we learned:

01. Embrace it by talking about it.
One of the biggest challenges for parents is the actual act of talking about death. Yes, it will be hard. Yes it will be sad. But by helping your kids understand and deal with death, you give them skills they can use for the rest of their lives. 

One great tip — don’t sugarcoat it. Use the word “die” or “died” instead of “passed away.” Kids can be literal, and helping them see the finality of things is actual helpful.

02. They’re not just playing, they’re processing.
Our featured guest provided a lot of fantastic insight. That included this gem — often when you talk to your kids, they’ll respond by going off to play. They aren’t ignoring you or forgetting to take things seriously. What they’re doing is processing. Prepare for more conversation and questions.

03. It helps to empower your kids in a few ways.
Create a sense of expectation for kids by telling them what’s going to happen at something like a funeral. Walk them through the steps.

You can also give them a role to play. They can help in food preparation, greeting guests, or any ritual you have in saying goodbye.

Mel Brooks said it right — “it’s not like you’re getting out alive.” Helping your kids to deal with death is another tough skill you can give them on the journey of life. 

Leave a Comment