Death is inevitable, although most of us are scared to even talk about it. It is just something that all of us dread and a topic that is not exactly something that people like talking about. Discussing it with kids and teenagers is difficult, too, as we usually stray away from this type of discussion with them.
However, talking about death and everything that it involves is just a fact of life. You have to talk to your kids about it to make sure that they will understand its concept. This includes why we should not be afraid of it, how we can accept it, what burials and cremations are like, and even what people usually put in headstones in West Valley City.
Talking About it with Kids Aged 0 to 3
Toddlers are difficult to talk with when it comes to death since they do not understand it that much yet. However, you can start by citing a few examples relating to death. For example, you can tell them that death occurs when a person or an animal stops breathing. You can show them a couple of videos if you want, or you can just verbally explain it to them.
Explaining it to Kids Aged 4 to 6
Kids this age kind of have a difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality. Most of them would not understand that death is permanent, and they would think that the person is just going away and would come back soon. Explain calmly that if a person dies, they are not coming back and that their soul has permanently departed from their bodies. Kids this age usually ask a lot of questions, so be patient when answering them.
Talking About Death with Kids Aged 7 to 9
Kids this age bracket usually think that only old people and pets die. Explain that death can come anytime and that it can happen to anyone, no matter their age.
Be a little more scientific and tell them that when the heart stops beating, the person will die. Tell them that death is not necessarily like how it happens in cartoons and movies, and if you are comfortable with it, you can tell them how it happens.
Talking to Kids Aged 10 to 12
Kids this age usually understand the concept of death. They know that death is permanent and that it can happen to their loved ones or even to themselves. They also know that death corresponds to sadness, fear, and anger. They can already understand facts, so go ahead and talk to them the way you would talk to an adult about death.
Communicating with Kids Aged 13 to 18
Teens at this age are quite emotional since they are trying to find out who they are, which can sometimes lead them to confusion. The death of a loved one can lead them to extreme emotions or even a mental health disorder, so go ahead and offer them support and let them know that you are always available to talk.
Let your kids know that you are always available to talk to anytime they want. Be patient when answering their questions so they would be able to understand and grasp the real concept of death.