It’s important to talk about death

Talking to children about death

Death is a natural part of life and is all around us, whether that be the death of insects, creatures, animals, beloved pets or friends and family members. When we don’t talk about death, children make their own assumptions, which are seldom accurate. It is important to talk to a child about death, particularly when there is a possibility of a loved one dying. They need to understand what it means and how you are going to help and support them when the person dies.

Adults who are themselves feeling pain related to a family member’s illness may want to protect children from feeling the hurt that comes from knowing that someone they care about is very sick and may die. Explaining to a child that an illness, such as advanced cancer, may lead to the death of someone they love will be a difficult task.

An understanding of how children perceive and understand death will assist you when having discussions about a family member who may be dying or may already have died.