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Health Tip: Discussing Death With Children

-- Death may be difficult to comprehend at any age, but it can be particularly confusing and scary to young children.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers these suggestions when talking to children about death:

  • Keep your explanation honest, simple, and on a level that's appropriate for the child's age.
  • Understand that death can cause fears and confusion in many children.
  • Talk about it as openly as possible when they ask questions or if a situation occurs that requires you to discuss it.
  • Talk about your feelings -- fear, sadness, anger and anything else you feel. Show your child that the emotions they have are normal.
  • Help children understand that they had nothing to do with the death. The person did not die because of something the children did, and they could not have prevented it from happening.
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Posted: May 2008