How do you explain death to a five year old? He is wondering why i'm so sad and dont know what to tell him... I just lost my grandfather who i was very close too....


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Julie - posted on 05/27/2009




I agree that you shouldn't lie to him. If you are religious just explain that he is with the angels in heaven and is now looking over him. Children understand a lot more than most people give them credit for. Just give him the basic understanding. Good luck and sorry about your loss.

Jaime - posted on 05/27/2009




As part of my job I work with death all the time (palliative care nurse) we have a book that we sit and read to the children at the appropriate time. (can't remember the name of it but I will try then post it later).

Without getting into the whole heaven/hell thing way to complicated and unless we are there we don't firmly know what goes on after. It is all about what you believe.

I have lost my share of family members and have had to explain alot to my daughters. I have explained that sometimes people can die from accidents, or become very sick that medicine can not help. But there are also times when all of a sudden your bosy just stops working it gets tired. I told them the person goes to sleep and never wakes up (they do not need to know some people are in terrible pain when they die it is hard enough to handle that when you are an adult) yes they go up to heaven, and they are always watching us grow, our special moments in our lives they are with us. They are the little guardian angel that helps watch over us and tries there hardest to keep us safe. We will all meet again when it is our time to die.

On the anniversary of my fathers/ there grandfather's death we put a message in a balloon, stand down at the lake and let them go, we watch them float away to grandpa jim to catch them.

Death is a horrible topic to try and explain to children, and everyone is different, has different beliefs and what ever makes you feel just a tiny bit better is the right way to tell your child.

Katie - posted on 05/27/2009




In my own family my grandfather passed away a few years ago and we talked about it with the younger family members before he passed, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to explain how he was sick and he there wasn't medicine that could "fix him". I remember being a kid when my mom's parents passed away and vividly walking in on her crying about it, we simply talked about how she would miss them cause they were in a place where she (my mom) couldn't visit them. Just remember them. In the preschool I work at, one parent discussed the impending death of his mom with his preschool daughter as the "cirlcle of life" (She came from the earth and she'll return the earth. Very similar to "The Lion King") and when grandma would return to the dirt they would have to go to florida to say goodbye. (She loved the trip and seeing her family down there, had no problems with the "death" part,)

Charlotte - posted on 05/27/2009




thats getting 2 much into it realy tho,a child only needs small facts that r true. In her situation hes gone 2 heaven as he must have been a good person and he was old so no need at that point to go into why other people die. Its common sence to child if you tell them that if your not carful then u can die or if you get ill u die. If you havnt got a religion then the only thing u can do is stick to facts that you may believe as no1 noes what happens after and not everybody has a religion.

Amanda - posted on 05/27/2009




I agree that you should tell your child the truth as much as possible but I don't totally agree with what Charlotte says. Not everyone goes to Heaven and not it's not always old people that die. It's not right to say that everyone is going to Heaven because they were a good person. You also shouldn't tell your child they will meet them in Heaven either unless that child is a born again Christian because that is the only way you or anyone else will get to Heaven. Good Luck and I hope you are able to explain things.

Charlotte - posted on 05/27/2009




i dont think you should tell a child a story that isnt true, im not saying its wrong but i think you should stick to the truth as much as you can without making it sound horrible and upsetting, Its a fact of life that everyone has to go through. When my uncle died, my daughter was 4. She was very fond of him. I told her that he had died and gone to heaven, she asked why and i said thats what happens when people get old. She would obv see me upset about it and asked why she couldnt see him anymore.i just explained that she would oneday but not for a long time and we was upset beacuase we miss him but he is in a happy place with his friends that have passed onto heaven and we would oneday see him again. When eva she sees pictures now she always points him out and tells me of times when she remembers him

Lauren - posted on 05/27/2009




i had to do the same thing to my 4year old, i lost grandad last year i had to tell him that grandad was in the clouds so every year we send balloons up with a mesage maybe you could do something like that my grandad was close to me so he asked where grandad was, its hard isnt it x

Samantha - posted on 05/27/2009




i lost an uncle 2 yrs ago and my lil girl is 3 yrs old we go to the grave side were i tell her this is our uncles garden he has left it for us to put flowers on for him becuz he is an angel now and lives on the clouds we cant see him but he is happy when she asks why he is an angel i tell her sometimes people aint feeling very well and go to sleep then they live on the clouds were they feel better . its a very hard thing to exsplain to a child but my lil girl knows that people or animals that go to sleep for ever live on the clouds and r very happy

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