How to help your toddler come to terms with death in the family

How to help your toddler come to terms with death in the family

Dealing with death can be too much for a toddler. Here's how you can help.

Written by Naz Haider |Published : July 3, 2017 9:54 AM IST

In a toddler's world everything is happy and rosy. Things that can go wrong or horrible things don t register with them. For her, the world is a perfect place. They love the people in their lives, and they mean the world to them. Imagine what a toddler goes through if someone in the family is to die. The world as they know it alters, and not in a good way. While we understand and have our own ways to cope with the death of a loved one, for a toddler its an earth-shattering experience where she is now left with one person less who she loved. The idea of love transcending even after death is not apparent for a toddler, and coping with this loss can be terrifying for her. If you have had a death in family and you want to help your toddler come to terms with it, try these tips from psychologist, Dr Shuchi Dalvi.

  • Talk it out: The best way to get anything across to a toddler is to talk to them about it. Explain it to them the way it is, of course, altering the information to suit the child's capacity. If you lost the person to illness, tell them so, if it was a sudden death, tell them that too. Do not involve God in this, saying that God wished for them to be dead or 'God called them back'. the child might start associating negative feelings with God in that case.
  • Write it down: Sometimes it is easier for children (even adults) to put their emotions on a paper. Encourage your child to wrote or draw her feelings. Especially if you feel she is bottling up her emotions and not letting it out. You can also do it with her to encourage her to pen up and grieve.
  • Use gentle words: Always use gentle when explaining about death or talking about the deceased. tell them that the person, even after death, will love them and that the toddler's love will also reach them.
  • Console them: There's nothing more comforting for a toddler than a hug. be physically vocal about the love and comfort you want to give your child. Tell them that you will love them extra to make up for the love of the deceased person. If that person played a role in your toddler's life, like picking up from school, tell them who will do that job instead.
  • Let her grieve: When anyone experiences a loss, especially of a loved one, they go though the cycle of grief. Give your toddler the time and patience of going through each cycle at her own pace and deal with it the way she feels comfortable. Do not expect anything out of her or rush her to accept and be okay with it. Be patient f she gets worked up or blows out.

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