How do I explain to a five year old that their daddy has died?

(41 Posts)
Nelly2015 Thu 26-Mar-15 18:13:21

My husband went home to South Africa to visit family and was killed in a car crash 2 nights ago. I haven't told our two eldest as I really don't know how to tell them. The kids just think he is still on holiday. Anyone got any advice how to tell them?

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LookingforRainbows Thu 26-Mar-15 18:15:39

I don't have any advice, but I just wanted to say how truly sorry for your loss I am, how awful. Holding your hand and hopefully someone will come along with some advice, take care of yourself xxxxxx

Stuffofawesome Thu 26-Mar-15 18:15:49

Sorry for your loss. Look at for advice

TribbleNamedDave Thu 26-Mar-15 18:16:20

Oh Nelly, I'm so sorry to hear this.

I think unfortunately I think being gentle but straightforward is the best way. My DF died when I was five and I remember being told by my Mum that he had died in a similar fashion. Have you got anyone with you?

Swifey Thu 26-Mar-15 18:17:32

Oh my darling girl, I couldn't read and run, I don't have any specific advice, but please have someone with you when you tell them. In case they want to scream and shout, or just escape to their room etc. a friend of yours that they are close to, or one of your siblings or parents. Must of all look after yourself, it is a totally horrific thing to have to deal with. Sending you hugs and love and strength. Xx

januarysnowdrop Thu 26-Mar-15 18:24:37

I'm so sorry to hear this, it must be absolutely appalling for you. I'm no expert on talking to bereaved children (hopefully somebody else who is will be along soon), but I would suggest maybe getting a few children's books that deal with death. The best one for your situation might be Michael Rosen's Sad Book which deals with grief and sadness in general but was inspired by his feelings about the sudden death of his son. Always and Forever and Badger's Parting Gifts are both good books to use when discussing death, although these two are probably more suited for talking about the death of a grandparent.

I once heard There's No Such Thing as a Dragon suggested as a good book for talking to small children about emotional issues: it's a lovely book and the basic message is that if you deny your problems and don't talk about them, they will just go on getting bigger and bigger.

You have my very best wishes for getting through this awful time.

AuntieStella Thu 26-Mar-15 18:27:00

This website has a good range of books which might help.


Nelly2015 Thu 26-Mar-15 18:35:56

My best friend is coming over tonight so I can tell my DD and DS. I just hate having to tell them.

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LesleyKnopeFan Thu 26-Mar-15 18:52:20

Nelly, my sincerest condolences to you and your family.

You'll need a lot of support yourself, so that you can support the kids. I hope you have people close in RL that you can all on?

I wish I had some decent advice but all I can offer is my deepest sympathies and a hug. thanks

ememem84 Thu 26-Mar-15 18:56:12

Oh I am so sorry. I've never been through this myself but am close to someone who has (she both lost her dad when v young and has recently lost her dh -though it was expected - not that makes it any better....)

She was told when we were young that daddy had died. And he wasn't coming back. She was told it's ok to feel sad it's ok to cry. It's ok to miss him. But we still love him. And he loved them.

As hard as it is I think just telling the dc is the way to go.

Be prepared for them to ask if it was them fault. If it was because they did x or y.

Be strong. Look after yourself. Remember to eat. (My friend lost almost 2 stone because she couldn't eat as dh did all the cooking and to her it didn't seem right).


MyraForum Thu 26-Mar-15 19:00:25

I'm so so sorry for your loss.

I'd also suggest contacing winstons wish, they have a helpline and are excellent... practical, sensitive etc. One of the things they are very strong on is being absolutely clear and honest with children about what has happened. They said that trying to make it easier in children by saying things like 'has gone to sleep' etc can actually really confuse children and their fears and imaginings are often worse than the reality,however hard that is.

Also, don't be afraid to let your children see that you are upset and let them share in that as a family x x

ErrWhat Thu 26-Mar-15 19:01:40

I'm so sorry about your loss. Road safety is terrible in South Africa. It's awful.

How old are your DC?

Hissy Thu 26-Mar-15 19:03:44

Oh love, how dreadful! I'm so sorry to hear this.

How are you feeling? Are you ok?

Thinking of you all xx

PacificDogwood Thu 26-Mar-15 19:08:01

Nelly, I am so sorry for your loss and that of your children sad

Please be honest with your DC and use v clear and unambiguous language - tell them that daddy has died and cannot come home.
Answer their questions, but avoid euphemisms like 'went to sleep' or 'sleeping with the angles' as some children can become afraid of sleep when that phrase has been used.
If you have faith then tell them were you believe he has gone - if you don't have faith then don't make anything up to comfort them.

Your children may come back with questions or may need to confirm several times that daddy has died. They may forget he's not coming home and refer to him in the present tense. They may only with time understand how final this loss is sad. There may be times when they appear absolutely unaffected and then they can be in floods of tear again.

Please be v kind to yourself.
I hope you have some RL support you can lean on.
Your DCs will likely help to get you through this.

Can I second and third contacting Winson's Wish? They can be a marvellous help.

LottieMumofWilfJenkins Thu 26-Mar-15 19:09:06

Sending love and hugs to you. My husband died when my ds2 was five years old. We made the mistake of telling him Daddy had gone to sleep which was dreadful as he had problems when other people said they were going to sleep. sad
I second contacting Winstons Wish, they do amazing work! If you want to chat then send me a message and i will offer what help i can.... flowers

LondonRocks Thu 26-Mar-15 19:13:46

Everything pacific says is great advice.

So sorry for your loss. flowers

Nelly2015 Thu 26-Mar-15 20:04:40

errwhat i have five year old twins and a 6 month old also 3months pregnant

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WinstonsWish Fri 27-Mar-15 11:29:56

I'm very sorry to read about the sad and recent death of your husband. You might find it helpful to give us a call on our Helpline where one of our experienced Practitioners can talk things through with you. They'll also be able to discuss books that might be suitable. The Helpline is open Monday-Friday (9am-5pm) and Wednesday evenings (7-9.30pm) on 08452 03 04 05. Hope this helps, best wishes.

Nelly2015 Fri 27-Mar-15 18:58:38

Thanks for the kind wishes everyone. I still haven't told the DC yet as couldnt do it last night as I was to upset.

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ErrWhat Fri 27-Mar-15 20:08:28

I hope you have family and friends around to help you. Please don't forget to look after yourself too. Are you going to have to fly out to SA?

Nelly2015 Fri 27-Mar-15 20:50:42

err I don't know if I will be allowed to fly being pregnant but hope so as I can't miss his funeral.
I have my family and friends helping me with the DC here.

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ajandjjmum Fri 27-Mar-15 21:00:43

So sorry for your loss Nelly. I think you will be allowed to fly at 3 months pregnant, but you perhaps should be seeing your GP anyway.

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 27-Mar-15 21:07:35

I am so sorry.
When my dc's grandad ,who they saw several times a week ,died when they were little I took the bull by the horns and explained what death was -that they wouldn't see him any more or be able to talk to him -but they would remember him in their minds.There were a lot of questions that I tried to answer in an age appropriate but honest way.I am,now,so glad I did it like this as I truly think it was best for them and how they came to understand it.
They played dying and death for a while -to come to terms with it I suppose.
Choose the time you feel most able to do this,and I hope you have some support.

ErrWhat Fri 27-Mar-15 21:08:14

You would be able to fly at 3 months unless there are any health issues. As you probably know it's not a difficult flight.

Nelly2015 Fri 27-Mar-15 21:17:41

The DC have already lost their birth mother when they were babies and now there DF. I love them like my own but I hate the thought of hurting them.

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