What do I tell my small children about a family member about to die?

My bother inlaw is about to die of cancer. I am alway very honest with my 6 and 4 year old girls but I dont want to freak them out or for them to say anything to my nieces.
Asked Jan 05, 2017
I know that has to be a difficult situation to be in. I hope you find this helpful. It was found on www.jw.org. It is a Bible based website. It also shows the Bible promise for the future when death will be done away with- Revelation 21:3-4. Also the promise that we will see our loved ones who have fallen asleep in death- John 5:28-29.


Take advantage of opportunities to talk about death. If your child sees a dead bird on the side of the road or if a beloved pet dies, use simple questions to encourage him to talk. For example, you could ask: “Does a dead animal suffer? Is it cold or hungry? How do you know that an animal or a person is dead?”—Bible principle: Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7.

Do not hide the truth. When an acquaintance or a relative has died, avoid using confusing euphemisms such as “He has gone away.” Your child might wrongly conclude that the deceased will soon return home. Instead, use simple and direct words. For example, you might say: “When Grandma died, her body stopped working. We can’t talk to her, but we will never forget her.”—Bible principle: Ephesians 4:25.

Reassure your child. He might think that his actions or thoughts caused someone’s death. Instead of just saying that he is not responsible for what happened, you could ask, “What makes you think that it is your fault?” Listen carefully, without belittling his feelings. Also, since a young child might think that death is contagious, assure him that he is safe.

Draw out your child. Talk freely about loved ones who have died, including relatives whom your child has never met. You might evoke fond memories of an aunt, an uncle, or a grandparent and relate amusing anecdotes. When you openly discuss such people, you help your child understand that he need not avoid talking or thinking about them. At the same time, do not force your child to talk. You can always broach the subject later, when you feel the time is right.—Bible principle: Proverbs 20:5.
Answered Mar 01, 2017

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