Okay, a question was posed to me earlier today about how to tell your young child about death. Particularly about a person that has died, as opposed to a pet (although in my head, my pets are people, too). I’m not 100% sure what I’d say to Gavin if we had to tell him that someone he knows has died, but I think I’d actually use the words “dead/death” and mention that the person went to Heaven. I’m not sure how much he’d understand, but he really wouldn’t need much of an explanation at this age. I mean, he’s only 3-1/2 years old, so he’s not really going to understand about a soul or how the loved one will stay in your heart, etc. I think I would make sure he’s having a quiet moment, without the distraction of toys or movies, and I think it might go something like this:Me: hey Gavin? G: what? Me: do you remember Mr. Brown? G: yeah. Me: well, Mr. Brown died today, sweetie. He was very old and died and went to Heaven. Do you know what that means? G: yeah (he initially says “yeah” to everything until it sinks in) Me: Mr. Brown is with Jesus in Heaven. G: Mr. Brown wit Jes-us in Heb-ben.
and I would probably leave it like that. We, thankfully, haven’t had to try to explain death to Gavin, but a friend of mine with an almost 4-year old has been hit with the decision on what to tell her son about the passing of a family friend (I believe the deceased is quite a bit older…) . What would you do? Any of you more experienced moms out there have any ideas or suggestions?