discussing death with a children

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At the Elephas Group, we make sure families are put first with our Final Needs Plans. This blog post is an extension of our ongoing support for Canadian families when dealing with death.

The finality of death is something we all must struggle to cope with. In our adult life, we have experienced and dealt with death in our own ways. We have naturally grown stronger in the way we are able to process death and move on. For the children in our life, the concept of death may only be something they have seen in movies or have heard about through friends. When we and our children are confronted with death, it is on us to help them through this difficult time.

death and childrenThere are many different methods you may seem fit to discuss death with the children in your lives. Children are smart and able to pick up on things. It’s important that you use this opportunity to share and be open with them. Leaving them in the dark at this stressful time can make the event more stressful on everyone.

Here are some methods you can take to comfort, console, and really connect with the children in your life.

Be calm and direct

Initiating a difficult conversation could be seen as the most difficult part. It is important that you are calm and prepared. Be clear, be calm, and direct. Have them sit down and say “I have some very sad news to share with you. Grandma has passed away.” Allow them some time to let the news sink in.

p3Take the opportunity to connect

You need to be prepared for any type reaction. That’s why it is important to approach the situation as calm and ready as possible. They may cry, ask questions, or remain quiet. The best you can do is listen, answer, and lend a shoulder. You can also use this opportunity to share how much you care about the one who passed and your personal feelings. This is a great chance to connect with your child on a much deeper level. However, if they need some time to grieve alone, that is okay. They may need some space, but reassure them that you are always there.

Establish a schedule

The death of a loved one can drastically change the routine for a child. The best thing to do is reassure everything will be okay. Discuss in detail what is going to happen over the coming days. For example, “I need to spend time with Grandpa to make sure he is okay. Then on Friday we’re going to have a visitation to meet all the people your Grandmother has touched over her life, okay?” When you child is upset, their world can turn upside down. Some structure, planning, and expectation can help them in the short term.

p4Explain the funeral process

Children have seen funerals before, so they know what to expect. When it’s their loved one they see at the funeral it can be very difficult. By discussing exactly what is going to happen during the funeral in advance, they will develop a better understanding. “It’s going to be very difficult seeing grandma there, but this is your chance to say goodbye. She would want you to be strong, okay?” This is a good chance to have a deep discussion about your family’s personal and spiritual beliefs.

Find a positive approach

It’s also very important to share the positive aspects of a funeral. After all, while funerals are sad and depressing, it’s also a celebration of the life that was. “Your family is going to be there, we’re going to hear some great stories about your grandmother, and we’re all going to help each other feel better. Can you do that?” Giving them a small role like gathering photos, collecting people’s coats as they come in, or reading a poem at the ceremony can help them feel like they are doing something positive for their loved one.

Find some good distractionsp5

There’s going to be a lot of moments where your child will feel depressed. While it’s great to have deep conversations and always be there to console them, it may be good to find other distractions to escape those feelings for a little while. There are some really good Disney and Pixar movies that explore the concept of death that children can relate to. It may also be a fun idea to take them out for something fun like go-karting, mini-putt, or a fun restaurant. As long as it’s something you can both do together.

Time can heal a lot of things

It is important to let you child get back into their own rhythm. Hanging out with friends, getting back to school and playing sports will happen naturally and at their own pace. There may be some moments where your child has difficulty getting back into the swing of things, so you need to be there to make the transition a bit more seamless. Always there for comfort, always there for support.

plan a funeral in advanceFunerals are a stressful time for us all

We at the Elephas Group know how stressful this time can be. We are required to be strong and be there for our loved ones, while we too are suffering. Add to the fact that we must be there to make important financial decisions and event planning, everything can be just a little more difficult.

That’s why we offer families the comfort of a Final Needs Plan. When you are able to plan a funeral in advance, you are free to focus more on the more important things like your child’s well being when death does arrive. If you think a Final Needs Plan is right for you and yours, contact one of the consultants at the Elephas Group today.


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