How to: Discuss Death with a Toddler

We have had a couple deaths in the family in the last year or so, unfortunately. When Jayden was younger it didn’t seem to be such a big deal since he was not asking so many questions. Now at 4 years old, he is full of questions and is very curious. It is also a difficult concept to process so there is a need to keep repeating ourselves as he asks the same questions over and over, in an attempt to understand it.

We have a funeral this week and there has been a lot of discussion leading up to it. My big thing is to keep it very kid-friendly and light. Hubby and I told him that Auntie was very sick (and he has known this for a while now since Grandma was travelling back and forth taking care of her and to visit her lately), and that she is not going to be around anymore, and that she is going to heaven. We explained that at the funeral we are going there to say goodbye, and that some people are going to be sad but that it was OK, that just meant they were going to miss her.

Another thing we have had to work on with him is realizing that this isn’t some vacation we are going on. He needs to know everyone is not there to play with him, and that he needs to keep things more mellow and use an inside-voice. We do realize however that he is a 4 year old, and that there are going to be some loud moments and defiance and we are just going to have to roll with it all and make the best of the situation – this will definitely be a time when electronics (with earphones) and bribery will come in handy 🙂

We love you Aunt D and we will miss you! 

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