How do I explain death to my 4 year olds?

(When I struggle to deal with it myself)IMG_8842

In the four years my children have been alive a number special people in our lives have died. The Twins had been a little young to know whats happening. When I lost my Nan my twins were only two. They will have noticed she wasn’t here anymore however they don’t really remember her! 

A couple of days ago however the next door neighbour of my nan (who I have known since they both moved there about 30 years ago ) died – She had been having a few health issues over the past year but had such a positive outlook! She was in her 90s and so much more agile than my nan was at 90!

As I came off the phone to my mum I realised I was crying and J & M were looking at me!

I tried to explain but I don’t think they understood!

I tried the well “Mrs G” won’t be here anymore she has gone to be with my nanny somewhere in the stars!

Can we see her they asked! – I told them that we wouldn’t be able to see her again now.

I didn’t know what to say –  I think many of us are inept at dealing with death. I was talking to someone the other day who said I the olden days death was just what happened. In fact in times of poverty it was probably a bit of a relief as sick couldn’t work so therefore were a burden!  These times we as family dealt with the funeral ourselves.

Nowadays that job is usually  given to a funeral home so we only ever talk  about death through closed doors!

I am one of those inept people – I don’t deal with death very well and therefore am a little scared of my own mortality or selfishly the mortality of people around me (what will I feel when there gone?)

So with all this in mind I want to do the right thing by my two. I don’t want them to grow up with this fear that I have and that my dad had that death is something to fear so much so that it interferes with living!

Googling how to talk to a preschooler about death I came up with many don’ts

  • Don’t tell them that the person has gone to sleep – This may cause the child to not want to go to sleep
  • Don’t tell them the person has gone away – Leaving the child may then be an issue as they may think you have “gone away”
  • Don’t tell them the person has been so good that jesus wanted them – The child might start playing up so they don’t get chosen
  • Don’t tell the child the person is happy now they have gone – the child might question why the person is so happy when everyone around them is sad!

So what do I say instead?

What do I say to my 4 year olds about where this person who was a part of our lives is now?

How do explain death to them?

If you have any words of wisdom please leave in the comments below or message me on facebook.

Thanks

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