How do you answer a child's questions about death? Caring parents can help a child during a time of loss by being open, honest, and loving, and by responding to his or her questions in a way that shows they care.
When answering a child's questions about death, adults should keep in mind the following:
- Tell a child only what he or she is capable of understanding. There is no need to be evasive, but modify explanations to what the child can comprehend. A too-complicated reply often confuses a child.
- Use language the child can understand.
- What is said is important, but the manner in which it is said has even greater significance. Be aware of voice tone. Try to answer the questions in a matter-of-fact way without too much emotion.
- Remember that what is communicated without words can be just as meaningful to a child as what is actually said.
It's not unusual for a child to ask the same question again and again. Repeating questions and getting answers helps the child understand and adjust to the loss of someone loved.
If you incur any difficulties in explaining death or cremation to your child, you may wish to consult a child guidance counselor who specializes in these areas.