Talking about dying and death


Most parents dread telling their children that someone important to them has a life-limiting illness or is dying. They may hesitate to provide the details about how someone has died. This reluctance comes from a good place. It's a natural instinct to protect children and keep them emotionally safe.

Research and experience strongly suggest we talk with our children early on in these situations. The best way to protect children is in fact to given them clear, honest information and support that is right for their personality and maturity. 

Although these conversations aren't easy, by having them children learn that: 

  • Hard conversations can happen safely.
  • They are a valued member of the family.
  • They can talk with you about life's most difficult times. 

In this module you will learn:  

  • Early and honest conversations are important.
  • The logistics of these conversations.
  • How to encourage and answer questions.
  • How to prepare children for a visit.
  • Common concerns of children.

 Notes about language:

"Parent"  is used to refer to anyone who has direct legal responsibility for the daily wellbeing of a child. That could include: other family members, guardians, foster parents and others.  References to "primary caregiver" in videos refers to all of these individuals.

"Children" is used to refer to all children up to the age of 18.

All children are unique. This information is meant to serve as a guide and is not meant to replace professional help.