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This week a little 5 yr old boy was swept away from our nearby beach. My son has been hearing bits and pieces and asking lots of questions, but is obviously concerned with how his body can come back, but not him (it’s been 5 days with no sign of him) how do others explain it to their kids?


Posted anonymously, 7th October 2014


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  • Hmmmm, a really tricky thing to try and explain to a little boy. You need to give enough information to explain it but not too much that it freaks him out. Maybe try out your local library, they undoubtedly would have a couple of books that are age appropriate


  • It can be very difficult if your child is really young. I know a Grandma who looked after her two small grandchildren (both were 3 years old or younger) following a sudden death of an inlaw. The parents didn’t have the time to explain it to the older one as they were asked to contact the Police at a particular Police Station. (what made it harder was not telling the children the truth of the cause of death – it wasn’t accidental) The only thing the Grandma could think of on the stir of the moment to try to explain it that everybody dies eventually like the flowers on plants do. The reason for that was that the children spent a lot of time in the garden with her and the older one used to help pull of the dead flowers. Their parents were given the responsibility of giving the children better advice and help in understanding.


  • Maybe start with an anatomy lesson. “When the little boy was trapped under water, his lungs filled with water…..” Etc and answer his questions as honestly and simply as you can


  • As honest as possible my kids 5 & 8 have lost both grandfathers in 12 months they handled quite well


  • Following this as I haven’t had to experience this yet but can imagine its so difficult to explain


  • Try and be as truthful as possible , I don’t know if you are religious or not, but explain how we have two parts one is a body and one our spirit or soul, and when something bad happens like the little boy his soul goes away and his body comes back because a soul or spirt is like an angel it just flays away, it’s always hard to explain but it really depends on your beliefs as to how indepth you go good luck


  • Death is always hard to explain to kids because to some certain extent they just don’t understand.
    My poor boy lost his grandad, (his dad’s dad)
    and also lost his great nanna (my dads dad) and his great pop (my mums dad) all in 2011
    and then his pop (my dad) in January this year.
    Explaining death has been hard
    we tried to keep it simple and say when you die your body either is buried or cremated and your spirit goes to heaven
    We picked stars for them so my son can talk to them always which helped


  • My Nanna passed just recently and I still cant brign myself to tell my 3yo that she will not see her again however, my partner explained to her the day it happened that there is a place called heaven and that sometimes people go to this place and we cant go visit them but we can talk to them anytime we want wherever we want and they can here us. She seemed to take this on board though and says we can visit Nonno but not Nanna


  • Thanks Tam! One week on they are still looking for the wee boys body. A terrible tragedy.


  • What a tricky situation, and how heartbreaking for your community. I don’t have an answer for you but you have my thoughts and sympathies.


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