Five Things You Can Do To Help Your Child Through The Death of A Pet

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    Five Things You Can Do To Help Your Child Through The Death of A Pet

    Pets are important members of the and to some young , the pet is more like a furry brother or sister.  This makes it even harder to explain when a beloved pet dies.  For many , the death of a pet may be the first experience they have with death and dying.  Because under the age of five have a limited sense of time, it is hard to understand why a pet isn’t going to always be around.  This makes it all the more important to approach the death of a pet with honesty and empathy.

    *When talking to your about a dying or dead pet, it is ok to use the word death (or died or dying).  It is best not to say things like, “Jake went to and now he’s in heaven” (the last thing you want is for your to connect with dying or never coming back).  Just be open without making up stories or circumstances.  Keep things simple and honest.

    Jake is really sick and Mommy and Daddy think he may be dying.  That means that his is not working and he may not be alive too much longer.  When Jake dies, he won’t come back.   That makes me feel really .  I will miss Jake so much!  

    If you have a religious belief about where your pet will go after death, you can discuss that as well, but the important part is that you explain that the pet will not come back.  Links to some good ’s about the death of a pet are at the bottom of this post.  Many deal with a “pet heaven” but some have a more secular viewpoint.

    *Ask your how she feels.  Let her tell you as many times as she needs to.  Listen empathetically and come up with ideas about how to remember your pet.

    I hear you say that you feel really .  I do too.  Would you like to make a list of all the fun things we did with Jake?  We could draw some pictures of all of Jake’s favorite things, like balls, squirrels, and ing on the sofa.

    *If your is feeling emotional or down (or if you are and your is reacting to that), communicate the situation to teachers and carers.

    *Have a memorial service for your pet.  Sing some songs, remember your pet’s favorite things and fun times that you had together.  This is important, even if you do not bury your pet yourself, as it provides some closure.

    *Answer your ’s questions about death, even if they continue for months after your pet’s dies.  It is important to let your work through this on her own time.  Adults still have trouble grappling with the concept of death and what it means.   your the ability to ask questions and answer them in the most honest and nonthreatening way you can.

    The death of a pet is never easy but it can be used as a teachable moment.  Allowing your to grieve and ask questions will pay off later, as your will be better able to cope with stressful situations.  It may also you work through your own grief.

     

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