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What to say to 3yo

(10 Posts)
smornintime Sun 16-Jun-13 20:24:08

My FIL is very ill and not expected to recover. Any advice on how to tell DS? We had a death in the family not too long ago and just said 'x isn't here any more' but DS was only just two so I think that was all that was needed. Now he is that bit older and paying more attention and very observant and inquisitive.
I am stressing about it a bit - how do I explain about death?
It's obviously not going to be as easy as 'the cat died, it's buried in the garden'...

TheBirdsFellDownToDingADong Sun 16-Jun-13 20:27:05

Exactly as you did last time. 3 is still an age where it will be undoubtedly taken with an "oh right" kind of attitude.

dd was like that until she was about 8 in all honesty.

"Grandad is very poorly and he might not get better" then take it from there (with his reaction) as to how to proceed.

My stepfather died when dd was 3 and she just played happily all day at the funeral/funeral tea.

Sorry that you are going through such a difficult time. x

Hardhaton Sun 16-Jun-13 20:30:44

My mother died when my ds was 6. She actually died the day of his bday party. We lived with my parents until he was 4. We told him that nanny was very ill and she isn't around anymore but whenever he wants to see her all he has to do is look for the brightest star and there she would be.

smornintime Sun 16-Jun-13 23:24:11

Well, FIL has now passed away.

Thanks for responses thus far - I will have to have a think overnight. I thought I would have longer than this to get it straight in my head.

DS at least does know that he was ill and in hospital so I suppose that's something. And he was unwell the last time we saw him. I just don't want him to bombard DH or MIL with questions about where FIL is. I need to get in there first, IYSWIM.

SirBoobAlot Sun 16-Jun-13 23:34:10

Sorry for your loss sad

DS lost his great-grandma earlier this year, I told him that great-granny had been very poorly, the doctors had tried their very hardest to make her better, but her body had stopped working properly, and there wasn't anything they could do. Told him that it hadn't hurt, and that it was okay to be sad, and that doctors could make most illnesses better, just that this time they couldn't.

He was a bit sad, and a little bit miffed the first time we went to stay with his grandparents and didn't go to see her, but then was okay about it.

butterflymum Sun 16-Jun-13 23:34:59

If you already spend time reading books with your son, you may find this one helpful at this difficult time:

It might be available at your local library.

smornintime Sun 16-Jun-13 23:50:46

Hmm. Thanks. I will look for the book depending on how the first chat goes - apparently it is in a local-ish library!
I think to start with I will probably say something along the lines of what sirboobalot suggested and see how that goes down. I will just have to take a deep breath and bring it up too, unless DS asks about DH again - they are a couple of hours away so DH is not here atm and DS has already asked a couple of times when Daddy is coming back.
It's horrible. And it has been pretty sudden really.

tungthai Mon 17-Jun-13 16:01:42

My youngest is 3 and my Dad died recently. I told ds that Grandad had died and was in heaven with the angels. At first ds didn't seem to understand then one day he said I want Grandad to be here and not dead it had finally dawned on him that death was permanent. He keeps telling me that he can see Grandad's face in the rainbows! He also asks me if I am sad because Grandad is dead. I have been amazed by him really as he is only just 3.

smornintime Tue 18-Jun-13 10:14:16

Wow. None of that here! We had a chat yesterday at breakfast and I explained that Grandad has been very poorly and the doctors couldn't make him better and got the response 'so he didn't get up in the morning?'
I thought that was a good way of looking at it until he smiled and came out with 'I know a song about that!' and went into 'it's raining it's pouring'...
I guess it will sink in when we actually go to their house and Grandad isn't there.

lynniep Tue 18-Jun-13 10:29:46

I just told my DS1 (who had just turned 3 then) that my daddy had died and gone to be a star. I didn't mention sleeping or anything which I think its too frightening. I just said sometimes people get poorly or really really old and their bodies can't be fixed and they turn into stars. He is now 6 and has since questioned that (he goes to a C of E school) and suggested they go to heaven. I just said yes, thats possible. He accepted that too.

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