12 Answers

Just wondering how you have explained the death of someone special to your children? My grandmother is 92 and my kids adore her. Obviously, death is something we will need to deal with at some stage and often wonder how I will explain to my almost 3 and almost 5 year olds why their nanny is not around anymore. I have talked about death with my big boy but he is incredibly sensitive and it always ends in tears.
How do I approach the subject? Any ideas/advice?

Posted by mom125971, 11th May 2015

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  • Tough subject! There’s a few good books out there that would help. I believe Mem Fox has a recent publication that deals with grandma dying

  • I can’t remember how I told my daughter. It’s a very difficult subject to discuss.

  • My 4 year old lost two great grandparents last month. Previously I had discussed death with her talking about how The Big Bad Wolf in the fairy tales dies. Which means he never comes back, and even if we want him to. When the great parents died, we talked about The Big Bad Wolf again. We talked about what would happen at the funeral. And people would be very sad. She asked lots of questions and processed it pretty well.

  • Some good answers here. My friend is going through this now – her mumhas cancer but has been battling it for years. She prepared her kids for grandma’s passing but she’s battling on and it confused the kids that she’s sick and dying but has been for quite a while

  • I always explained death to children as the persons time on this earth was finished and they were needed elsewhere. They will always be with you in your heart and when you look up at the sky at night, all the stars are people that you love watching over you. This seemed to help. My children now tell their children the same thing.

  • There are wonderful children’s books out today that explain death in an amazing way that the children can understand. Just google and a lot will come up and you can pick one you think is most appropriate

  • Thank you mummies! These are such thoughtful and beautiful responses. I love the guardian angel idea- just precious. I think I’ll go hunting for some books too…..

  • Books-I would invest in some good and sensitive children’s books on death. They are sensitive and beautiful and are a step removed from the child. You can read the book with the child and look at pictures. Kids will often then tell you what is happening and discuss the story with you. You can also ask them; what is happening in this picture? What did you think of the story? It is ok if kids do get upset as this is normal and they do need an understanding of life and death. As long as they know that you are there to love and support them.

  • When one of my nieces popped the question on their Grandma she had to do some very quick thinking. Bearing in mind that she was only about 3 -4 years old, Grandma did her best to explain to her that everything gets old and dies. Some flowers on a geranium bush hds died off a week or so before and she knew she had seen them being picked off, so she used that an example. When there was another death in the family 2 or 3 years later it was explained to her in more detail…….by her parents.

  • Explaining death to children is a difficult job. I would explain that Granny is old and her body wasn’t working properly anymore and the doctors couldn’t fix it. She has gone somewhere where there is no pain and rest. Listen to your child’s questions and your answers will just flow naturally. Kids are awesome and they sometimes make it better for us too! I went to a few funerals as a child and my parents told us that our grand-parent had left this world and we were going to celebrate their life with a story and a song and some food and all this with family and friends. This day is called their Funeral and we will go as a family and we will be able to lay a flower down and say our goodbye’s. We asked questions and we were interested in learning all about the day and process.

  • Its hard if the kids are close to the person but with my kid they have a older sibling that passed before they were born and i have told them that they have a guardian angel guiding them through life. When their great gran passed i told them they have another angel looking over them to help protect them. Sometimes if there are stars out at night you can point one out and tell them nan has moved on and that is her looking over them and protecting them.

  • Try to explain what’s going a on as its happening ,we waited till our Nan was in hospital ,then we talked .kids take in a lot .

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