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Explaining "Death" to a 2 Year Old

(5 Posts)
themumfrombrum Mon 04-Apr-16 22:45:55

So, nothing traumatic has happened beyond the death of a much loved Daffodil (hence the quotation marks in the title) but he's so glum about it. DS is an empathetic soul - he gets upset when others are upset, he worries about people and things a lot. He's only just turned 2, but he's got a really good memory!

We picked up a cut daff on the way home from the park last week, and he proudly put it in a cup in some water on his table - it had been cut before we found it, and it wasn't in the best nick when we got it home. When he woke from his nap a few hours later it had completely wilted and the petals were falling off.

He looked at me, tears in his eyes, and begged me to make it better. And I didn't know what to say - he's my only child and I really wasn't anticipating having this talk for quite a while. I gently told him it had died, which meant it wasn't going to wake up again, and there wasn't anything I could do to make it better.

He's a big Bing fan, and there's an episode where Bing accidentally kills a butterfly by squeezing it too tight, and they bury it. He picked up his Daff, held it out to me and said "Like the Butterfly? Put it in the ground?" all the while with little tears in his eyes.

It has absolutely destroyed me; I dread to think what I'll do when we have an actual death to deal with. I'm hopeless with the thought of it anyway, let alone talking about it - I'm in tears writing this!!

He saw me have a little blub while he was stood there, flower in hand, and came and gave me a hug. He keeps talking about it, a week on, every time we see another Daff - "My Daffodil went to sleep. In the bin now."

Did I tell him the right thing? Should I have just gone and picked another flower and pretended for a bit? sad

WakeUpFast Mon 04-Apr-16 22:50:43

You did the right thing except your wording was very wrong and you should never call death "sleeping" because this can cause children to fear sleep and cause anxiety.

I don't really have any advice on how you should correct this. Maybe explain that the flower died and is gone now and not asleep next time he mentions it?

I recently had to have this talk about about death with my 8 and 4 year old who understood, however my 2 year old is way too young to understand the concept yet.

themumfrombrum Mon 04-Apr-16 22:59:35

That was my worry WakeUpFast - I didn't mean to say "wake up" but it was part of our discussion about flowers blooming, he kept calling it waking up, which is why he kept asking me to "make it better, make it wake up".

WakeUpFast Mon 04-Apr-16 23:24:14

Yes, I understand. At that age they have a very limited vocabulary and they don't understand death as a concept as they're so young. my 2 year old only associates "die" with the iPad dying and then it needs to charge! Maybe next time explain it wasn't "awake" it was "alive" and then it died.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Tue 05-Apr-16 09:09:34

I've used "his/her/it's body stopped working" with my kuds at that age, but in relation to small animals not plants...

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