Explaining Death To A Toddler

There is no easy way to explain death. Whether it be a toddler or adult. So what do you do if you need to explain to your toddler why you're hurting and what happens when there's a death? It's not easy. I actually didn't expect to have to explain it to my toddler. He however quickly realized the sadness around our family. Here are a couple tips that has helped me and will keep helping me in the future.

  • Tell the truth. Don't tell your toddler someone has "went away for a while". This complicates the matter even more. You would eventually have to tell them the truth so why not start with it.
  • Let them know that when someone dies they stop living here on earth. However, their memories live on with us. 
  • Let them know you're sad and it's normal to feel that way. If you cover up feelings then when they feel those feelings they might not know what to do. 
  • Provide photos, videos, or stories to show them. Let them know they can always look at them when they think about the person. 
  • Let them know that the love they have for the person or that they had for them will never be lost. 
  • Use a book. There are a couple books that explain death that might provide an example for them to better understand. 

Every child is different. It might take five minutes to explain or weeks to explain but stay strong. Death isn't easy for anyone. The better someone can understand it, the better they can grieve and keep moving forward.