Saying Goodbye: Talking to Kids About Death

Q. My father died recently, and my daughter wants to know where he is now. What should I say?

A. That depends upon your religious beliefs. "For many families, heaven is an important source of comfort," says Greg Adams, director of the Center for Good Mourning at Arkansas Children's Hospital, in Little Rock. But don't introduce it too early: The notion of a person being dead physically but alive in a spiritual place is too abstract for most kids under age 5. "Until they are ready, heaven can wait," Adams says.

You can also let your child decide for herself about the afterlife. Say something like, "No one knows for sure. Some people think you go to heaven when you die, while others believe people come back on earth as different creatures. What do you think?"

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment