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Goodbye, Grandpa: An expert guide to talking to kids about death during Covid

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

My daughter's questions started after a family friend got sick with Covid-19.

It's natural for parents to want to protect children from the feelings of worry and distress we are experiencing during this pandemic, but decades of research underscores that being honest with children is the best way to mitigate feelings of anxiety and confusion during uncertain times.

So how do we talk to kids about death and dying during the coronavirus crisis?

Children between the ages of 4 and 7 years old believe that death is temporary and reversible, punctuated by the fact that their favorite cartoon characters can meet their doom and then come back the next day for another episode.

Even after you explain that "all living things die" and "death is the end of life," it's normal for young children to ask, "When can that person can come back?" Be prepared to remind them, kindly and calmly, that "once a body stops working it can't be fixed" and "once someone dies, that person can't return. "

They may want to talk with you about why someone has died and need guidance about which resources they can trust for valid information about coronavirus and Covid-related deaths.

Ask your children, whatever their age: "What have you heard about the coronavirus and how someone might get it?

Good Grief is a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization that provides healthy-coping skills to children grieving the loss of a family member.

Many children will ask for more information and want to know why their loved ones didn't survive.

It is also normal for your child to ask if you or others in their life will get sick or die of Covid-19 so be clear about the precautions your family is taking in order to stave off the illness.

Given that social distancing is making it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to grieve alongside loved ones as we typically do when someone dies, it's imperative that we find a way to allow children to say goodbye and remember.

Ask your children, "How would you like to honor and remember _______?"

Continue to reach out for the support you need so you and your children can be cared for during this difficult time.

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