Creative Ways to Teach Your Kids About Death
by Taylor Evans June 17, 2022 4 min read
Teaching children about death is a challenge for many parents. Although, as an adult, we’re well aware that death is a part of life, it is still a subject that causes discomfort and pain. In some families, death is a taboo subject, making it even more difficult to break down barriers and have this conversation with children.
Whether you’re grieving a loss or simply want to educate your child on death, we’re going to share some creative ways to broach the subject of death with your kids.
Creative Ways to Teach Your Kids About Death
Share Memories of Lost Loved Ones
One way to teach children about death is to share memories of loved ones who have passed away. Gather photos and stories of the individual, and share them as a family.
- What you miss about the person
- How you felt when they passed away
Even if your children have never experienced a loss, this activity can help them understand the concept of death and its permanence. Sharing your feelings about their passing can also help children understand that it’s okay to be sad and grieve the loss of a loved one.
Be prepared to answer questions and to ask questions as well.
Read a Story
Having a conversation about death can be challenging and uncomfortable for parents. There are several excellent children’s books that touch on the subject in a way that children can understand, such as:
- Tess's Tree by Jess Brallier
- Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie
- Badger's Parting Giftsby Susan Varley
Reading a story can help break the ice and get the conversation started, but it’s still important to be a part of that discussion. Ask your child questions and answer theirs about death.
Before you start reading, make sure that you’ve read through the book yourself. It’s okay to leave out parts that you may not feel comfortable talking about or feel is inappropriate for your child at this time.
Explain What Happens After a Loved One Dies
If you have a metal urn at home or you have cremation jewelry, you can use these items to explain the concepts of cremation and burial.
Funeral rituals can be complicated for young children to understand, but you can break the concept down into simple terms. Avoid using words that may cause alarm and remain calm when explaining these concepts.
For example, when talking about cremation, you may tell your child that the body is kept in a warm room until it turns to ashes and the process isn’t painful or scary. Afterward, the ashes are placed in cremation containers or human ashes jewelry so that they can visit and carry their loved ones with them always.
After explaining these concepts, ask your kids if they have any questions. Be open and honest when answering, but choose your words carefully. We don’t want to frighten children, but we also want them to understand what we’re trying to explain.
Kids often have many questions and concerns about death. For example, many children worry that they or their loved ones will be gone and forgotten. If you have keepsake cremation urns in your home, then this also helps children understand that they will not be lost or forgotten after they are gone.
If you have religious or spiritual beliefs, you can explain these as well.
Throughout this discussion, validate your child. Let them know that it’s okay to have questions and be unsure of their feelings. It’s okay to feel sad and that you’re there to give extra hugs, support and answers.
Explaining how burials and cremations work can also help your child know what to expect when a loved one passes away, even if you aren’t grieving a loss at the moment.
Treat Nature Walks as Teachable Moments
Taking a walk through nature offers an opportunity to talk about the concepts of life and death. Whether you’re walking through the park or on a trail in the woods, life and death are all around you in nature. Some plants are forming new buds, while others have blooms that are fading.
Children may make these observations and point them out or ask questions. But you can also be the one to point these things out.
Explaining seasons and the lifecycles of plants can help children understand the concept of birth, living your life and eventual death. Seasons change, and nature with it. So it’s the same for humans. While some plants may wither and die, bulbs underground have the potential to bring new life.
As plants, animals and insects die in nature, they give back to the earth and support new life, much in the way biodegradable urns break down and allow ashes to return to earth. In that way, death plays a crucial role in the cycle of life.
Don’t Forget About Hope
When talking about death, don’t forget to bring hope into the conversation. The idea of a loved one being here one day and gone the next can be a scary concept for children. However, through the support of loved ones, we can move past the grief. Life will go on, and new life will come into this world. We may wear jewelry to hold ashes of loved ones we’ve lost, but we continue to live, just as your loved one would have wanted.
Make hope an important part of the conversation.
Talking to children about death is difficult but essential. Death is a part of life and something that all children will experience at some point in their lives. Explaining what happens and what to expect in a loving, supportive way can help children cope with loss and grieve in healthy ways.
Take your child’s age into consideration when teaching about death. It’s important to choose your words carefully and explain concepts in a way that’s easy for them to understand.
For families grieving a loss, we offer a variety of biodegradable urns for ashes and mini urns, as well as sterling silver cremation jewelry and ashes jewelry.
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