It may be uncomfortable, emotional and even downright scary to talk to kids about death, but it's inevitable and, at some point, you almost certainly will need to discuss the loss of a loved one with your child. But it can be hard to know how much to say to your kid or how to say it. Here's how to talk to your kids about death at every age.
Define What Death Is
Discussing death with a child can seem like such a big task that it's easy for parents to skip over the basics by accident. If you have a young child, start by making sure that she understands the general concept of death, says Linda Goldman, author of Life and Loss: A Guide to Help Grieving Children. You can find the language that works best for you, but something simple is a good place to start. "You might say: Death is when the body stops working. People usually die when they're very old or very sick and doctors or nurses can't make them work any more," says Goldman. "Just having that initial dialog is helpful."