how do you tell your 3 1/2 yr old that their friend from pre-school died?

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Lisa - posted on 07/31/2012

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That is so very sad... so sorry to hear that. I think I aswell would explain it in easy terms a kid would understand, children will learn about death sooner or later and they are much smarter then u would think.

Dianne - posted on 07/11/2012

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Oh my goodness, how very tragic for that friend's parents :(

I agree with Casey, I too would be honest. Keep it simple and explain that his friend is in heaven. Children are much more clever that we give them credit.

If your toddler has a good understanding of God and heaven, he/she will understand that their friend is not coming back and that they can talk to their friend in their prayers.

Casey - posted on 07/11/2012

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I think it's better to be honest. Keep your explanation simple, so he understands what you are saying. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, so I think it's better to tell them the truth. . If you believe in heaven I think that concept can help.

I was about two when my first pet died (I know not quite the same as a friend...) and my mom told me the truth. Kept it simple, but honest. She same thing when my great grandmother passed when I was maybe 4. She told me she had died and was in heaven now. That i wouldnt be able to see her anymore. That's it's okay to feel sad and we will always remember her. I'm sure I had some questions, I don't really remember it all but I think I felt sad, especially since I saw my mom cry when she got the phone call, but it's a part of life. I don't think it does any good to try to shelter your kids from it.


My husbands grandmother passed away recently, and we were all eating dinner when we got the call. We were talking about who wanted to see her body before she was crenated. My 6yr old niece was there and her mom told told her grandmother had passed away. Her spirit was in heaven, but her body was still here on earth. She basically repeated that naming a few body parts to clarify with us, but then accepted what we said. We all cried and hugged each other and told her it was okay to feel sad, that we would all miss grandmother. they go to church so I think that helped her understand that explanation.

I don't know how close your child was with the child that passed away, but I think they will figure out the truth at some point, and I would want my child to feel like they can trust me to give them honest answers to their questions.

Louise - posted on 07/10/2012

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Unless he asks for that friend repeatedly I would not tell him. He will have no concept of what death means and it will mean nothing to him. He will still continue to ask for him even after you have told him. Unless you are in regular contact with the mother then I would just tell him he has moved away. He will understand this and stop asking questions. If you are in contact with the family you will have to sit him down and tell him about being an angel baby now. Try and break the news gently and if you have a faith then explain things that way.

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