View Full Version : Quick Help Needed in Explaining death to a 5 year old
08-28-2008, 07:09 AM
We just got a call that my FIL died during the night, suddenly. My DS is still sleeping but i want to be super careful in how we tell him; i figure i have another hour or so til he wakes up. I'm going to TRY to not say anything until we get him from school later but who knows.
08-28-2008, 07:13 AM
I would be honest and simply say that he died. He may not get what that means (normal and typical) and I would just simply say that your body no longer works and your heart stops beating.
If you know why, I would tell him why, again in simple terms (heart attack = heart stops working, stroke = brain no longer works properly, etc.)
08-28-2008, 08:16 AM
We went through this when my dad passed away in March. We told the dd's that Grampa was old and he died, which means his body stopped working. He doesn't eat, breath, sleep, etc. anymore. (And DD1s response to this: "So, what's he doing, just sitting there?")
If you are religious or spiritual, you can add that in too. Grampa is in heaven, and his spirit and memories are always with us, etc.
There are lots of books out there if you need them for the longer term. I have heard When Dinosaurs Die is good, but we don't have it. We have:
-What's Heaven by Maria Schriver
-Lifetimes: A beautiful way to explain death to children by Bryan Mellonie and ROger INgpen (it goes through the life cycle of many things)
-I miss you, a first look at death by Pat Thomas
Good luck, and I'm sorry for your loss.
08-28-2008, 08:33 AM
When Dinosaurs Die is a really excellent book.
08-28-2008, 08:34 AM
I don't have any btdt advice, I just wanted to say I am very sorry for your loss.
08-28-2008, 08:52 AM
No advice from me either - I think the PPs have covered it well. I'm so sorry for you and your family's loss.
08-28-2008, 09:05 AM
I'm sorry for your loss. I would just go with the simple explanation like Beth gave and then field questions as best you can.
08-28-2008, 11:24 AM
I am so sorry for your loss.
At age 5 I really think kids can understand a great deal. "Grampa died last night: while his body stopped working and he is no longer physically with us, he will always be in our hearts..."
Maybe it would help to talk with him about some special times shared with his grandfather.
Best of luck and again, I am really sorry for your family's loss.
08-28-2008, 05:17 PM
Sorry for your loss.
MIL died the end of last year (DD had just turned 5). DD knew she was sick and we told her that she'd died. She was terribly upset at first and she wasn't terribly close to her grandma as we didn't see her too often. I explained that Mommy and Daddy were not as old as Gramdma and we would be around for alot longer, until she was at least our age. She was perfectly fine when she realised that although in her eyes we are old, we are not as old as MIL was and we (hopefully!) won't die until we are MIL age. That was what was upsetting her so keep a watch out for that thought going through your DCs brain.
08-28-2008, 05:22 PM
You've gotten great advice so far. I just wanted to say that I'm very sorry for your family's loss. It's very painful when it happens suddenly like that. :hug5:
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