DMs cat died yesterday. DS is 2.5 and has always adored the cat, he was the first thing he would look for whenever he gets to DMs house and any mention of Nanny immediately has him saying the cats name. We probably visit DM at least once a week so DS is very used to seeing him.
I'm fairly certain DS has no concept of death, and so was going to try and get away with just saying that the cat has gone away. But having googled articles, it seems advice is to be more honest as otherwise he'll expect the cat to come back.
So Aibu to try and explain that the cat has died, and if I'm not, has anyone got any hints for doing this with a toddler?
Yes don’t say he’s gone away because that could imply he will return. You could say he was poorly and that he won’t be living at granny’s house again. Children are very resilient in these circumstances and are led by us.
I think I'd probably be honest with your DS. My mother's cat died a few months ago when DD was the same age and, without checking with me, my mother took the decision out of my hands and told DD that the cat had gone to live on a farm (my mother has a tendency to be controlling and has boundary issues). I let the subject go because I didn't want to hit DD with the double whammy of "the cat died AND your grandmother lied to you" . However, I really regret the fact that DD wasn't told the truth because I think she knew something wasn't quite right, e.g. she stopped talking about the cat almost entirely except for making a couple of comments about the cat being "very old" .
Be honest. And don’t be surprised if the reaction is pretty callous. A friend struggled with this when her son’s pet rat died. After we’d spent a whole morning agonising over telling him, when she did he asked if he could whirl Ratty round by his tail now.
I would be honest. An older lady my son knew died around that age and I was honest and said she'd died and we wouldn't see her again. I had a few questions now and again but not real upset. We used to talk about nice things we remembered about her. You could do that with the cat - talk about why the cat was special eg little quirks it had, its soft fur. I think it's especially important to be honest if little one sees that your mum is upset as then she knows why.
Yes, be honest! It'll help down the line when there is people death to handle.
I used Goodbye Mog with my son when my dad died, Mog goes off to the sun when she's sure her family will be okay without her. That book fucking broke me though, I wasn't aware it existed until adulthood and I read most of the others as a child.