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How to explain death to a 4 Year old?

(12 Posts)
jaabaar Wed 21-May-14 17:18:58


My 4 year old DD is very close to her grandad who sadly and unexpectedl passed away. He is our "adopted" grandad (family friends dad). They had a very special bond.

How do I explain this to her best?
Shall I take her to the funeral?

Tthank you for your advise and exoeriences

jaabaar Mon 26-May-14 01:19:45

Anyone please?

scottishmummy Mon 26-May-14 01:29:59

Sad the gentleman died.explain it Factually,and age appropriately.
Use Easily understandable terms, flowery vague terms depends if its appropriate,not detrimental to the child

thegambler Mon 26-May-14 01:32:59

Even though I'm an atheist we told our daughter (6 at the time) that her grandad had gone to heaven but really focussed on that he's still alive in her memories and in her heart. Later when she brought heaven up we told her that some people think this, some think that and she has to make up her own mind. I;m thankful she never asked for my views as that would have been a longer, hrader conversation.

Personally I wouldn't take take MY daughter to a funeral at that age but don't really think there's a right answer.

bagladywilts Mon 26-May-14 08:34:10

My Ds was 5 when his sister died aged 3. We explained everything in as clear terms as we could. We were advised not to complicate things with talk of heaven, angels, rainbows etc and I believe this is right. Winstons Wish has some good advice. Do not be afraid to show your emotion, tell them when you are sad or miss that person as that allows them to be sad too. If adults hide their emotions then children will too. I hope that helps.

bagladywilts Mon 26-May-14 08:37:35

I would not take her to the funeral but have your own little " funeral" with her to mark his passing, talk abut him and grieve together. Maybe go for tea or ice cream somewhere he would have liked or choose a helium balloon from a flower shop for him and let it off somewhere.

expatinscotland Mon 26-May-14 08:41:00

What bag said. Our DD2 was 6 when DD1 died and DS was 3.

We did not talk of heaven or rainbows. DD2 does ask where she went, but as we have no beliefs we tell her no one knows for sure, but different people have different ideas.

musicmum75 Mon 26-May-14 12:23:07

My Dad died when my DS was 4 and they were very close to each other. It's up to you whether to explain the concept of an afterlife or not depending on what you believe but either way I think the most important thing to get across is the finality of death. He needs to understand that people can't come back.

With regards to the funeral, yes my DS did come. He was so close to my Dad I couldn't imagine excluding him from it and he coped fine.

CheesyBadger Mon 26-May-14 14:18:13

My grandad just died and I have a 3.5 year old. I said grandad was poorly, his body didn't work any more, he has died but loves us all still.

I said he was on the moon and was watching us. I believe in some kind of afterlife but not necessarily any particular religion, and I thought it would be easier for her to talk to him, which she does daily 3.5 months on,

Kind gentle facts. Talk about other things dying too when they come up eg plants, animals, insects etc

CheesyBadger Mon 26-May-14 14:19:31

Oh and please do express your own grief. Dd liked us being dad together and talking about memories

CheesyBadger Mon 26-May-14 14:19:40

Sad together

neolara Mon 26-May-14 23:22:13

I'm very sorry for you loss.

I used this book to explain death to my 4 year old when a child in my son's class died. It explains lots of the basics - what death is, who can die, different people believe different things happen etc. She was fascinated and it was entirely suitable for her age. Also Badger's Parting Gift is a very good fictional book to explain the loss of an older person. (Badger dies but everyone remembers the wonderful things he did with them). The only problem is reading it without weeping.

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