I miss you - Speaking about death to children
This is a post that I have been planning to write for a long time, but when I sit down to work on it, I can’t find the right words. I ask myself why it’s so difficult to write about death? Probably because it’s a topic that I want to avoid...
During my childhood I got the thought that we turn into ghosts or zombie’s after death. [Michael Jackson’s Thriller didn’t do me any good]
So my innerchild was hiding in her darkest place when Chanel started to be interested in death. She is six now and is becoming more conscious about life every day. It’s like I see her waking up from her own world she was living in until now.
"Who are you?" asked the caterpillar
"I hardly know!
I know who I was, but I've changed" said Butterfly
* This great picture I've found HERE.
Three concrete advices while talking about death to your child
1. Since I love to transfer my humble knowledge of life to my kid, I knew that I couldn’t go wrong talking about death as if I was talking about life itself.
2. From the start I decided to be honest with her and answer all of her questions. Children think in a very literally way. When you say that somebody or something (a pet for example) passed away because they were sick, it might happen that children get in panic when they themselves are having a cold. Or explaining death as a long sleep may have the effect that the child doesn’t want to sleep anymore, terrified that death may overtake it.
3. I tried to keep my explanation of death very concrete and simple.
The use of visual material was of good added value, as are also religious and cultural traditions for some of you.
I choose ‘the little soul and the earth’ from Neal Donald Walsh. [at the end of the post you will find some suggestions for books]
Chanel: “I will never die”
Me: “You will indeed never die”!
"It is the body that will stop working, our heart stops beating.
But you, your TRUE color, will never ever die.
We call this your SOUL."
[It may happen that children are more sensitive then others, some may have a special feeling with death or dreams.
"When I was a angel mommy, I looked down at you and choose you as my mother" - child from Caroline @ De Tout e De Rien]
“The soul is as a Rainbow, connecting the new with the old”
What happens to a child when death actually occurs?
“Children feel the loss of loved ones just as intensely as adults do, this grief is often expressed in different ways: through play, art or even acting out”. [Grief is related to age, some research about that you can read HERE]
I know from experience that children, of all ages, are more flexibile to coop with difficult themes and moments then we adults may give them credit for. Children play. That is their biggest resource of healing themselves, there they feel safe to express themselves. We as adults only have to observe their behavior, that means slowing down, sit with them and watch. We will know by seeing them interact with their toys, drawings, pretend play, etc how their state of being is.
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body”
Bring children to funerals?
By simply involving, informing and observing your child you can enter it’s “silent” world of thoughts and emotions. There are different opinions about bringing children yes or no to a funeral. It’s not said that kids should stay away from these (emotional) moments. But as always the right things to do depends on the emotional state a child is in. What is happening in their heads or hearts, no research or expert (or blogger like me) can tell you. You know best as a parent!
A practical PLAY - Craft idea related to Death remembrance
Last week a dear person in our family passed away. Chanel made the colorful Soulcreation, as shown in the video tutorial. It was like magical signs were popping up while creating it...have a look!
[I have used the cool VideoEmail product of TalkFusion. More info about their products, also for your own use, you'll find HERE]
....And how did you or would you speak to your child about Death?
Your comment is welcome under the blog or on my Facebook Fanpage.
- Pascale Nimuë
- Kym McCabe @ Fun Key Creations
- Marco Antonio Gomez @ The great Cosmic Shift
- Jen @ Kitchen Counter Chronicles
- JAMIE @ Jamie’s Jumble
- Adrienne @ Iowa's farmer wife
- Alissa @ Creative with Kids
- Terri @ My creative family (Very special thanks for your lovely angel story!)
- Talia Ganel wrote "Farewell Grandpa", a lovely small story about a young boy posing questions about death. I had the great occassion to read the manuscript, since the book is not published (in English) yet.
- Mom 2 posh lil’ Divas >> Children & Grief
- Crayon Freckles >> Flutter of Wings
- CrittersandCrayons >> Farewell Quincy
- Play = Peace >> Play & Grief (with a great video inside!!)
- The Pagan Household >> Transformation and the circle of life
- A great overview of books you can find at No Time For Flashcards
- "Sensational Meditation by Sarah Wood" (on advice of Semin Yalman Yilmaz @ Yalman communications services)
- “Waterbugs and dragonflies by Doris Stickney” (on advice of Catherine @ Sun Hats & Wellie Boots)
- “Talking with Children about Loss by Maria Trozzi” (on advice of Kathy @ Childwise Resource)
- “The Fall of Freddie the leaf by Leo F. Buscaglia” (on advice of Stephani @ Epiphany Community Preschool)
- " When Dinosaurs Die by Marc Brown" (on advice of Laura @ Dr.PlayMom)
- “Little Soul and the earth by Neal Donald Walsh”
More research related 'Talking abour Death to your children'