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What do you say to a five year old about death?

(15 Posts)
LittleBellatrixLeBoot Tue 17-Jul-07 20:58:48

My DD (5) is going through a phase where she is very worried about me dying. I have no idea why, but she keeps asking me if she will die at the same time as me and being upset about me dying. She asked me the other day who would be her mummy when I was dead, and I told her that I wouldn't die until she was a really old grown up lady who could look after herself, but she pointed out that I've got a mummy. Tonight before bed she was crying about being left without me and I didn't really know what to say to her, so I told her that I'd still be there and she'd be able to feel me and I'd give her a big hug but she said I'd be in the sky so I couldn't.... etc. etc. I don't really know what to say. Am a raging atheist, so am probably not very convincing on the subject of me always being there.

LittleBellatrixLeBoot Tue 17-Jul-07 21:11:10


Lentils Tue 17-Jul-07 21:18:42

It sounds to me (putting on my opo psychologist hat here) that she has anxieties about something else and its being expressed as your death. Is there something going on inher life that she feels worried about? Maybe an upcoming separation from you?

LittleBellatrixLeBoot Tue 17-Jul-07 21:23:56

I suppose a couple of changes.

Have just got a new job which entails her going to her childminder 3 afternoons a week instead of 1.

And she's moving classes when she goes back in September. Maybe she's worrying about that

Lentils Tue 17-Jul-07 21:31:56

I bet its a combination of the two. Poor dd! I would try to talk to her about thing syou'll do together. Reassure her you're around when she isn't asking about death. GL!

LittleBellatrixLeBoot Thu 19-Jul-07 14:13:27

Thanks Lentils.

Reallytired Thu 19-Jul-07 17:10:49

This is what my five year old says about death:

Babies turn in to little boys...
Little boys turn into big boys...
Big boys turn into Daddies...
Daddies turn into Grandads..
...And Grandads turn into skeletons.

Or if you are an athesist you tell her that our bodies will turn in to dust and in turn become the trees and plants you see. The circle of life or as more scientifically known as the Nitogen Cycle.

singingsortinghatmum Thu 19-Jul-07 17:26:23

Def go with the circle of life thing(use lion king as backup)
My dd's rabbit died and she goes to where it's buried in the garden and talks to it.She tells everyone that it's ok as rex(her bunny)hasn't just gone for nothing but is turning to soil so that plants can grow and animals can eat the plants so they can grow.She does get upset some times but then she remembers that her bunny isn't really gone and is ok then.My dc's have always had a good understanding of death as when I miscarried my second pg my son was not even2.He told us a little while after that it was ok the baby going as having a baby is like playing football,sometimes you score a goal and all's ok and sometimes you miss and that's sad but ok to.Kids understand better than we think sometimes

tortoiseSHELL Thu 19-Jul-07 17:28:09

Circle of Life is good - say that you get a turn at doing all the bits, and then make way for other people to. Ds1 gets fretful about dying (he's just turned 6), but we are Christian, so he is comforted by the idea of heaven. He still gets maudlin about it, but liked the Lion King 'Circle of Life' idea.

Reallytired Thu 19-Jul-07 17:58:33

It is fairly normal to worry about death and dying. I think when our children ask us it makes us question what we believe. Ulimately none of us knows 100%. Its why you have to have faith to be a christian.

My son's best friend is a Hindu and we are Christians. Last winter we had a butterfly in our kitchen between the months of November and January. We fed the butterfly on fruit and it was very happy in our nice warm kitchen. Unfortunately the butterfly landed in the sink and came to a sudden end.

My son asked me if the butterfly's soul goes to Heaven. His best friend is convinced that the butterfly will be reincarnated into something else. I told my son that no one knows exactly what happens to to the soul of the butterfly although lots of people have opinons.

We buried the butterfly and thanked Jesus for the life of the butterfly.

FirenzeandZooey Thu 19-Jul-07 18:03:05

DS was scared about us dying, and worried about it until we actually faced up to it as a possibility and discussed it with him. Saying "we won't die until you're old" wasn't working - it isn't necessarily true and he knew it. We asked him what it was he was scared of - not seeing us again? Not having anyone to look after him? etc etc, and worked through each worry and found solutions / things to make it seem easier. We had to repeat this several times before the worries abated at all, but now he seems quite relaxed about the whole idea. So much so that he told me

"If you died, I would be really sad, for quite a long time....but then me and Daddy could get a new puppy!"

Reallytired Thu 19-Jul-07 18:10:19

A little girl at my son's nursery died and he was extremely shocked and upset. I am not sure what she died of except that it happened very quickly and was natural causes.

We had the question (from a four year old). "Why did God let this happen?" I had to be honest and tell him that I wondered exactly the same thing!

LittleBellatrixLeBoot Thu 19-Jul-07 20:42:38

LOL at the new puppy

Circle of life thing is really good, thanks, I can't think why I didn't think of it!

And f&z that's good advice too, to go through the fears of the consequences.

FirenzeandZooey Thu 19-Jul-07 20:44:14

I think someone on here recommended it to me Boot

it was kind of obvious once pointed out to me, but I hadn't considered it - I was just stuck in this spiral of him asking "Are you going to die" and me being paralysed to give an honest answer

Once we looked at the fears and dealt with them (this took some time) the worrying stopped

princessmel Thu 19-Jul-07 20:45:20

I think it was twiglett who had a really nice way of explaining death with a glove. It will be in the archives. Search glove and death.

My neighbours dd went through this at 4.5/5 and her hv suggested some really good books. I'll ask her what they were.

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