Explaining Death to a Preschooler

Updated on October 06, 2010
J.B. asks from Tinley Park, IL
5 answers

My son in 4 years old and just lost his great grandpa. We also lost our dog a couple years ago. He has been very inquisitve about death and heaven. Do anyone have good suggestions of books geared to children having to do with this subject?

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answers from Houston on

I don't have any good book recommendations but we've also dealt with this issue.I've found with my daughter - also 4- that at that age they really take cues from you on how to respond to all of this. So we are careful to remain positive and make sure she knows what a great place heaven is. We answer her questions as simply and briefly as possible and then move on to another subject- harping on it will not help. As I said though- your reaction is important- let her know taht you are happy for the dog and great grandpa because they are in such a great place where there is no pain or sadness. Acknoledge the sadness but move past it quickly. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm not sure if they've started but soon will come the questions about your mortality and his own- these are tough as well- again simple short answers and move on.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lynchburg on

So sorry for the loss of your child's great grandpa...but maybe you can see this as a 'teachable' moment...to share with your son your beliefs/values about death. We all live...we all die...and thru the loss of his great grandpa, better prepare him for the inevitable loss of others he is close to.

There is a wonderful book by leo buscalia (sp?) called "The Fall of Freddie the Leaf". It is wonderfully child oriented, has nice illustrations...and may serve as a springboard for some questions/answers.

There is another little book called "the waterbug story"...I have no idea who wrote it...but it chronicles the life of a water bug. Many of his friends rose up to the surface of the water and never return. The waterbug promises his friends that he will NOT do this...and IF he does float to the surface, he will come back and tell them. One night he does float up to the surface...and grows wings and can fly! Try as he might, he cannot dive back thru the water to tell his friends as his new wings will not let him. He takes comfort in the fact that someday...when his friends are ready, they too will grow wings and fly with him.

Any how...both stories allow room to insert/discuss Your beliefs and values.

Take Care

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I am truly sorry for your loss, but I want to thank you sooo much for posting this question. My 3 year old lost his great grandpa on Monday and I am at a loss...

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answers from Seattle on

Not much help, we lost my grandma Sunday. My daughters were told that we don't get to see her face anymore but that she would always live in our hearts. We told her that nana can breathe better now without her oxygen, and that she's happy to be with uncle Ronny and her mommy and daddy now. I told her she could wish on the stars and nana would hear her. She wanted to say goodbye so we let her (she's very wise beyond her 5.5 years), and she stroked her hair very sweetly and said she loved her. She said she looked like sleeping beauty. We have spent the days since with great grandpa, I told her nana needs us to keep him company, and we have all shown her it's okay to feel sad and miss her, and that we need to remember the good things we loved about her and try to be a good person like she was. I've told her over and over that she and her sister were nana's favorite people and best friends. Sorry for your loss, I know now how that feels. Hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children really helped my son when he lost his pap. It talks about ALL lives having a beginning, a middle and an end. It really IS a beautiful book. I'm sorry for your loss.

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