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Explaining death to a six year old of a loved one.(9 Posts)
So complications brought on while on ventilation for a grandparent (ex's) means they are probably not going to pull through. My 6 yr old son has an amazing relationship with them.
Anyone have any guidance or experience on how to break this to them, support them.
Have good relationship with ex and we will do together.
I'm sorry you find yourself in this position
The book 'Badgers parting gifts' is good for explaining death to children.
Check out this site www.winstonswish.org/
Be as honest as possible. I had to explain a close family death to a 5 and 7 year old, they will suprise you with their understanding if you keep it simple and honest.
Let them talk through their thoughts and answer questions as honestly as possibly.
My daughter turned 6 the week before my gran died, we told her a watered down version of the truth, Great Granny was very elderly, she had been poorly for a long time and her body couldn't take any more and she had gone to sleep and now she is in heaven.
We explained that she could still talk to her if she wanted and that whilst Great Granny had died she would always live on in our hearts. She took it exceptionally well, she has a photo in her bedroom of me, her and my gran and when she is pissed at me for something I often hear her talking to Great Granny and telling her how mean mummy is being.
Be as honest as you think the child can cope with is my best advice.
I’m sorry you are in this position.
Be as honest and open as possible (if not the will fill in the gaps themselves and sometimes their own version of events can be more frightening)
Don’t use the analogy of sleep. This can cause fear of sleep.
Allow them to see you sad so they can feel open about expressing their emotion too. Talk about these feelings.
Sorry you're going through this. One piece of advice I was given when explaining a family death to DD (then 5) was not to use euphemisms, especially any concerning sleep (she's gone to sleep/is sleeping) as this leaves the child confused and fearful - they think that they, or someone close to them might go to sleep as usual one evening and never wake up.
Also, expect it to be a recurring conversation rather than a one-off.
My own DD wanted to discuss death more generally (we all die eventually, hopefully not for a long time yet), and what happens when someone dies. Just to pre-warn you that you might get similar questions.
I had to tell my 4 and 6 year old their dad had died suddenly. I kept it simple: "daddy got very sick and his heart stopped and he died". I don't think they really could take it in properly - certainly what it meant long term. Children live very much in the moment - they don't project to what they will miss, only what's happening right now. My 6 year old didn't like talking about it , probably because I would get upset in the first few weeks. My own father had died just a few months before, so they had been to a funeral and understood it all, which helped. And we did keep talking about him - if a song he liked came on the radio or we had a meal he enjoyed, I would bring him up and try and keep his memory fresh.
Just encourage your son to talk about him as much as he needs to. If you have photos of the two of them, or if your ex does or even just of his parent on their own, put up in his room if he wants, or just to have.
Thanks these have been really helpful. I hadn't realised about the sleep thing and how that might then create an association.
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