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Helping Your Child Understand Death

I have been out-of-pocket for over a week now due to the death of my 87-year-old Papa (Paw-Paw – Grandfather).  It has been a whirlwind of a time, as he was not ill and his death was completely unexpected.  Trying to find a way to deal with my own grief has been extremely difficult.  But helping my girls deal with theirs has proven to be an overwhelming challenge. It has been most difficult because my grandparents (their great-grandparents) are a big part of our lives. Although they live in another state, we speak on the phone constantly and visit often.  In fact, we had just gone for a visit 4 months ago and had a fantastic time with Grandmother and Papa.  So the girls’ little minds are circling in an attempt to understand why Big Papa is now gone.

In our attempt to explain, first and foremost was our FAITH!  As a family with a very strong spiritual background and belief system, our girls know all about HEAVEN. They know Papa is there, but they had many questions about what Heaven is like, and what Papa will be doing there. Our best effort was to try and simplify the Bible’s description of Heaven (Revelation 21).  Boy was that hard to do with kids that are so young (ages 7 and 8). We’ve also shared many pictures as well as stories with them in order to celebrate his life and legacy instead of focusing on his death.  Let’s pray our explanations stick for now, as I’m sure there will be tons more questions in the future.

This article assists parents with Helping Your Child Understand Death. I hope you find it helpful.


“We’ll Miss You, Papa!”


Happily married mother of 2 fabulous daughters. CEO & Designer of Shootie Girl™ Custom Rhinestone Apparel. Former government and global software giant manager turned work-from-home mom and National Director of Social Media and Blogging for a national non-profit moms organization.
Shootie Girl

9 Responses

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Your Papa sounds like a wonderful man. Aren’t you glad you have your faith to help explain death to your children. It always leaves them feeling hope and peace! I will lift your family up in prayer!

  2. Amy

    I am sorry to hear about your loss. I have had to explain death to my children several times with the passing of their great grandparents. Faith is what gets us through. My friend lost her husband unexpectedly. She has a wonderful post on her blog about how she has dealt with the loss. http://leslieandaaron.blogspot.com/2010/04/what-ive-learned.html

  3. Where is the facebook like button ?

  4. Hussey93

    My family went through the death of two grandparents. Nana in 2009 (my mom) and Granddaddy (my husband’s dad) in 2010. It was hard dealing with my hubby, my children, and my grief too. We decided to create a peace area in our backyard of serenity – where we planted trees in rememberance of their grandparents. Then we created photo books of their grandparents holding them as babies, trips with them, holidays with the grands, and just hanging out with each of them. My 6 year old loves looking at the photo albums and remembering those outings or remembering hanging out with Nana. My 16, 15, and 12 year olds love hanging out in the backyard of serenity just remembering the times with their grandparents. It helped them get through the grieving process and just to laugh at the good times too. It also helps my husband and I cope with the loss of our parents.

  5. Your kids are lucky to have a great grandpa. I dread the day when I’ll have to explain death to my daughter, but that is an inevitable certainty. I should strengthen my faith, so I can pass this on to my daughter in the event of tragedy. Thanks for this insightful post.

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