A child may not seem to know what has happened or what's going on, but, they do have good sense. They often cue into their senses and own feelings as well as those of others as the news and information is shuffled around from one adult to another. Their antennae are up and working even though the adults may think that the youngster is not listening or paying attention.
Things to consider as you speak with a child about the death of a loved one:
Children need to be invited to be part of the funeral process. Here are some ways to have them be involved in saying "good bye" to this special person in their lives:
Children have different types of understanding of death depending on their level of development. Depending upon how they are able to conceptualize the world, 2-4 year old children understand death differently from older children and differently from adolescents. This means that a child's understanding of a death not only varies, but that their understanding of a specific death may undergo changes as the child ages. thus it may be necessary to revisit the death (gently, of course), as a child ages to see how he or she is understanding it at their current age.
Leah and Leo share with children and adults that there are so many feelings associated with grieving and many ways to express them. Pick up a brochure "Introducing Leah and Leo" to share with a child in your life who is touched by the death of a special person.