Death is a natural part of life. Whether it’s the passing of a grandparent or a pet, most children are exposed to it. How you feel and speak about death, will inevitably shape how your child does.
Their uncle died when our kids were 2 ½ and in uterine, so from a very young age, we’ve talked openly about it. Because I have less fear around it, and accept death as simply a part of life, I take nothing for granted and my kids are matter of fact about it too. Their father and I have different beliefs about what happens after we die, so we share them and remind them often that it’s up to them what they choose to believe.
You don’t have to wait until your child has experienced loss, to talk about it and help them explore what feels most resonant for them.
Here’s a few everyday opportunities to talk to your kids about death, to help them grow in their appreciation for life.
All living creatures die
When you see a dead bug on the sidewalk, stop to point it out to your child. Have them notice the body and how it has stopped moving. Ask them how they feel about it, and where the essence of the bug is now that the body has died.
Prepare your child that one day the pet’s body will die. Ask your child how they can make the pet’s life more enjoyable while he’s part of yours? What ways does the family help the pet live a long, happy life? What happens to the love you feel for the pet once his body is done working?
Along with your child, personify and talk playfully to a tree as you would an old friend. Imagine how the tree might respond to your questions if it could speak with words. Ask your child what the tree creates and how we can say thank you to those that have died?
When making a healthy choice for your body, use it as an opportunity to point it out to your child. Ask what we can do to help keep our body safe in the car, crossing the street, and with technology. Ask what can we put in our bodies to make them feel best? How do we move our body to make it strong? Help them connect the dots between taking good care of the body and enjoying life while still in it.
I believe we still experience the energy of loved ones who have passed. When “lucky” things happen, I use them as an opportunity to say things like “I think that’s our angels looking out for us,” and “See how much Life loves you?”
The most compassionate, wise, and clear thoughts we have come from the wisdom of the Spirit. Reminding a child of this, creates the space for her to receive spiritual guidance anytime she is quiet and still.
Joy heals suffering
Being around children – who are closest to Source – helps the healing process. Ask your child what the loved one liked to do, and honor that by doing it together. What made them laugh? Where did they like to go?
Recently when my grandma passed, there were tears, but then later I told my daughter she could have a special treat in Great Grandma’s name. Her eyes growing wide, she said “Really?! Great Grandma loved Root Beer as much as I do?” My son, in all his joy, and a sparkle in his eye said “Well, she ain’t drinkin’ it anymore!” Yep, they heal me a little bit more each day.
How do you feel about talking to your child about death? ♥