How do you explain death to a 2 1/2 year old?

Courtney - posted on 04/18/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )




My huusbands mother passed recently. Everytime we go to see his father she goes looking for her grandma and it tears us all up. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks


Tanya - posted on 04/22/2010




I have a similar problem, my son looks for his great grandpa when we go to visit. He always asks for papa and looks around the house for him but we talk about him a lot when we are away from family (we live out of state so dont see them much) but we just tell him that grandpa is flying with the angels in heaven. (grandpa was a pilot and my son LOVED playing in his planes) So everytime our son sees a plane he says papa flying.

Kids this young dont understand the concept of heaven or gone away or that stuff so you really just have to find a connection that your child can understand. Its not easy, but in time she will understand that her grandma is not around anymore, it will just take some time.


View replies by

Catherine - posted on 05/10/2010




I agree that death is hard at any age. I just tell my 2 1/2 year old that he is in heaven and we can't see him anymore but sometimes you might see him in your dreams.

Jenni - posted on 04/27/2010




I think it depends on your religion. I explain about the angels and how they help people. My son loves angels. We lost my grandpa recently, and I told my son it was his turn to be an angel and that his grandpa would watch over him and help him with his life. He seems to understand this idea because he tells people his pupa is in heaven watching him be good :) I hope this helps, death is hard at any age, I'm having trouble with it :) Good luck

Sarah - posted on 04/23/2010




When my daughter was 2,she understood about death after she helped to bury our cat. Maybe you could do the same with a beetle or ant. Hope this helps.

Maria - posted on 04/18/2010




Death is not an easily understandable concept for your toddler. This is because terms such as ‘never’ and ‘forever’ are difficult for her to understand. When it comes to explaining death to your child, it is best to first know what she thinks of it. Allow and encourage her to voice her thoughts, concerns and queries about death; don’t treat death as a taboo topic. Give your toddler simple and honest answers regarding her queries about death. Don’t lie to her and try not to use metaphorical phrases such as ‘sleeping in peace’ or ‘gone away’. This may confuse and worry her about periods of separation from you. Let him know that after many years most people die, but you, she and her loved ones probably still have many years together. Also, be expressive about your emotions and let her know that it is alright to grieve if one experiences a personal loss.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms