How do I talk to children about death and dying? | Sunday newspaper

“Your grandmother is in the hospital. You won’t live long and will die soon.” One way or another, children often unexpectedly encounter the topic of “death and dying.” Adults often find themselves in a difficult situation: they have to deal with their thoughts and feelings and at the same time take care of children. It is often more difficult for them to start a conversation with children and young adults about the latest things.

Talking to children and young people about death

Talking about death, dying, and grief can be prepared for and practiced early in everyday life. We provide tips on how to talk about death and dying with children in your community between the ages of three and ten. Suggestions are not only suitable for people who are acutely confronted with the topic.

Instead, addressing the topic early helps make the emotional world around “death and dying” appear friendly and less threatening to children. First of all, it should be noted that the suggestions should of course be adapted to the level of development, usefulness and age. Here are the tips:

Draw pictures of death and dying

Take your time and draw a picture together. Make suggestions to your child, which can be taken up depending on his mood. from “Your grandfather will be buried soon. Shall we draw a picture of him?” to “How do you think a bone looks? Shall we draw one?” Everything is allowed. It is only important for the child to determine the procedure and pace. If they do not want to respond to suggestions, they have their reasons, which must be respected.

Visit the cemetery

Walk around the cemetery with children or young adults. Look at the different tombstones and talk to the children about grave decorations and/or plants. You can explain the difference between urn and coffin graves and talk about how a person died and was buried. Or you ask how children imagine death.

Read books about death and dying

How about a reading lesson together? There are now a number of recommended children’s books on the topic of death. For example, for younger children, “Farewell Grandpa Elephant by I. Abedi & M. Cordes. Children from 5 years old canFarewell, death and mourning“By M. Brockamp & P. ​​Mennen from the Ravensburger Verlag series”Why why why?“Benefit. A little tip: if you know the book before reading it together, you can answer any questions that may arise in a more prepared way. For adults, for example, R. Caspers”If my father dies now, should he die?This book is a great compass for proper answers to unexpected questions.

Talk about instability

You can also talk about our fleeting existence while walking. Curved blades of grass, dead beetles, or dried earthworms provide a good starting point for drawing baby’s attention to softness. Sometimes the child also feels the need to bury the dead animal and organize a small funeral. Think about the idea, because this is how the first intellectual and emotional discussions on the topic take place.

dear memories

The death of a pet is a good time to start a conversation with the child about that animal and its memories. Questions like “What are your fondest memories of an animal?” or “Shall we take a picture and post it?” Ensure the integrity of the deceased pet’s memory.

Many families also have a place where they post pictures of their loved ones. Quite tangentially, the form of family relations can be explained – or when and under what circumstances a relative died.

Watch movies about death and dying

Children’s movies are also a good way to connect with the topic of death and dying. These include:

  • Bambi
  • the king lion
  • Lionheart brothers
  • above
  • my girl
  • In a land before our time

The following applies here: it is better to watch movies with your children or youth and pay attention to FSK’s recommendations regarding age. Even when children are older, they can react very differently to emotional scenes and may need adult rating.

Make an urn or grave

If someone close to you has died and the child has been in direct contact with the death, it is useful to remain able to act, that is, to find activities together that facilitate dealing with the topic.

This may mean that you and the child can design the coffin or urn of the deceased. Handprints and childish drawings of a coffin or tomb provide a good opportunity to talk about the deceased.

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