Be Honest And Concrete: Tips For Talking To Kids About Death


He's been with sesame for a long time and she says the death of Willie the actor who played Mr Hooper. It presented a real dilemma. For the show's writers. They gave a lot of decision to this. So the actor dies in real life and you have choices when you have a television show G You replace the actor. Ju just right right the actor off and as we do on sesame street or always putting the needs of kids first so from an educational point of view. What is the right thing to do for children? And in the case of Mr Hooper. The right thing was to be completely painfully honest. Egbert Mr Hooper's not coming back off big bird when people die. They don't come back no number. Why not well Big Bird? Their Dad they come back This brings us to the first of our big takeaways be honest and concrete when talking with kids about the what of death what happens and what it means. That's right because young kids often have trouble understanding the permanence of death and rose. Marie says we. Grownups are often part of the problem. Death is a part about lives and what happens is that as adults. We find talking about death difficult and when we're trying to talk to our children about death we don't necessarily always have the words and so rosemary says we often use euphemisms instead which can be really confusing for kids and even scary thing passed away. The no is sorry for your loss. Went on a long journey Put the dog to sleep. We put the doctor sleep. That's that's a really big one And the reason for that is that well. Then if you're telling me now that the dog went to sleep in his not gonNA wake up and died while I go to sleep every night. Am I going to die? You go to sleep every night. Mommy and Daddy. Are you going to die? So it's really important to use the word died inequality I feel like we often trip up in our rush to want to reassure kids so I remember when my older daughter is three. She said I know Mommy. You said everybody dies but me and you and the cat won't die right and I so wanted to tell her. No nobody none of you know when you love going to die but you know. I had to tell her the truth and I was so glad that I did. Because if you years later our our cat did pass away did I. You hear that on you. It's hardcore you know we're so used to doing that. It's really hard. It's totally true. Muslims everywhere which is one reason. Rosemary says don't just use the word dive but also be clear with kids like this is what it means you know when you die. Your heart stops. Your body stops working. You don't eat you. Don't breathe to give more concrete information about what is the meaning of death. This is all true for when we're talking about the what of death but you know. The advice is a little different when kids are asking the why questions and this brings us to take away number two. Which is sometimes it can be better not to tell kids too much especially not all at once. So let's let's pick up where we left off with big burden. Why don't understand you know everything was just fine. Why does it have to this way? Give me one good reason. One good reason and it is at this point that a grownup on the show. A man named Gordon stands up. He walks over and he says something that just hit me. It's so simple. Cory bird it has to be this way because just because just because just because that's it. Yeah that's it. So Rosemary says they picked that answer for a few reasons so first of all. They wanted to leave room for families to talk about the meaning of death according to their own faith traditions their beliefs and you know and we as parents should always feel free to kind of we all will fill that in however it makes sense to us which is an easy right but rosemary says there's another reason they did it this way and it's the sometimes it's better not to give kids too much information at least all at once right so kids. They get overwhelmed really easily so to adults and in this moment gordon concede that big birds already taken in a lot so he holds back. Rosemary says she got advice on this one's from hospice social worker. Who specialized in talking with kids about death and she used the analogy of eating an apple when we eat an apple. We'd we'd the whole apple when a child eats an apple. They take a bite maybe two bites. They put it down down. Leave it on the couch on the floor on the floor. Pick a backup. Take two more by exactly and this goes on now. We will look at that apple and say gross like I ain't eating this apple But for them it's like I'm still eating the apple. That's probably how go into to experience death as well. They'RE GONNA take a couple of bites they're going to go on with their life and they're gonNA come back and they're gonNA take a couple more by rose. Marie are you that person that parent who slices up the apple and gives them a few slices at a time so serious. Where'd you the whole piece of fruit? But even the slice they probably not going to eat the whole

Coming up next