Death is a part of life. But while this is a fact that you’ve likely come to terms with in your years on Earth, death is probably something that your kids aren’t very familiar with. For many kids, death is either this intangible concept that they don’t understand or something that has very scary connotations. So when you have a family member or loved one who’s been given a scary medical diagnosis and doesn’t have much longer to live, it can be hard to know how or what you should say to your kids. To help make this hard time a little easier for you to navigate through, here are three tips for talking to your kids about the imminent death of a loved one.
Give Your Kids The Chance To Tell You What They Know Already
Before you jump right into what’s going on, Cancer.org shares that you might want to first ask your child what he or she knows about their loved one’s health. In some instances, the loved one might have been sick for a while and your child has already picked up on some cues that things aren’t going well. If this is the case, you can help to fill in the holes where your child’s knowledge has gaps. This can also help you know how much information you should share that will be appropriate for your child’s maturity or comprehension.
Don’t Wait Too Long To Break The News
If you’ve just been given the news that the prognosis for your loved one is very bleak, you might be dealing with your own emotions about what’s going on in addition to trying to share this information with your child. But while you might be tempted to wait to break the news, Andrea Warnick, a contributor to VirtualHospice.ca warns against doing this. Even if you don’t feel like you have all the information yet, like more tests are being done, your child will likely appreciate being in the loop so they can have time to process things themselves.
Encourage Them To Make The Most Of The Time They Have Left Together
After you’ve shared with your child that their loved one likely won’t be alive for too much longer, Dr. Scott Jakubowski, a contributor to The Spectrum, recommends that you encourage your child to speak with their loved one and find ways to make the most of the time they have left together. Because your child might be scared about the whole situation, you should try to set a good example of this type of behavior.
If someone that your child cares for has been given the prognosis that they’ll soon be dying, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you broach this topic with your child.