Although it is not always easy or pleasant, knowing how to talk about death with children is important to comfort them, give them consolation, calm their fear and anguish and help them face the loss of a loved one or go through grief.

Each child is different, and depending on their personality, environment, family beliefs and cultural context, they will have a different way of acting in the face of death . In general, children are very observant, they tend to ask questions, they listen and absorb everything carefully, and it is common for them to have concerns and look for answers.

The way a child understands death and expresses grief changes as he or she grows.

For example, up to two years old it is important to have a calm environment and maintain the same caregiver and the same routines. Children from 2 to 6 years old believe that death is reversible, that only the elderly die and that they are somewhere else. They also believe that the dead miss them and have magical thinking. They may be afraid of dying when they go to sleep.

Between the ages of 6 and 9, they know that death is final, which can terrify them, although they often believe that it cannot happen to them. They may worry about their health, develop excessive attachment, be afraid of going to school, act out, or develop a lot of interest and curiosity about death.

At all stages of childhood you can help them by talking about their feelings, answering their questions, offering comfort, and encouraging them to have a normal routine. Movies and books offer very valuable material for talking about death with children. Here are some of them.

4 movies to talk about death with your children

  • Coco: set during the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico, this beautiful, unforgettable and colorful children's film allows you to talk about death with the little ones , reflect on what comes after it or address the importance of funeral rituals. It is also a song to always keep in your memory and in your heart those who have already left.

  • Bambi: This 1942 Disney classic never goes out of style. Bambi addresses values ​​such as friendship and solidarity, the journey towards maturity and the step towards adulthood. It also teaches us to face the death of our loved ones, to love nature and to give importance to those who help us in difficult times.

  • Fried Green Tomatoes – Ideal for kids of an apple age, this movie has it all. It serves to talk about death and illness, but it is also a song to life, an ode to diverse love and a powerful plea against racism and injustice . You will fly to Alabama, to eat fried green tomatoes with Idgie and Ruth at the Whistle Stop cafe.

  • My girl: optimal for preteens, is the story of a girl from the seventies who lives very closely with death , since she lost her mother when she was little and her father works in a funeral home. Full of humor, love, complicity and tenderness, it allows us to talk about the emotions towards death, how to go through grief and how we always carry our loved ones with us.

We have mentioned these films, but there are many more: from Fourth Floor to Finding Nemo, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Up, Spirited Away or, of course, The Lion King.

3 appropriate children's books to talk about death and grief

In literature, many stories, stories and novels will help you deal with the topic of death with children. Here are some examples:

  • Where do we go when we disappear?: this beautiful illustrated story from the publishing house Fulgencio Pimentel and signed by Isabel Minhós Martins and Madalena Matoso offers luminous answers to the darkest and most common doubts . Where do the stones, the puddles, the clouds, the socks go? What can you tell us about the big question that is the title of this book?

  • The invisible thread : a great story that talks about the connection that we will always have beyond space and time with the people we love. Written by Míriam Tirado, a conscious parenting consultant, it helps to face processes of transition and change, inhabit the grieving processes and express feelings about loss.

  • Empty : written by Anna Llenas Sera, it is one of the best works of children's literature to talk about grief. Its protagonist is a girl who has suffered a loss and feels a hole inside that she doesn't know how to fill. The discovery of this deep sadness will lead her to become aware of how magical each person's emptiness is and how it turns each person into someone special.

Many more books can accompany you, such as Goodbye, Grandma, It's not easy, little squirrel! a Everywhere and any place.


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