Lets talk about death…

Today, in the United States, many people of Mexican heritage will be celebrating Dia De los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I’m not going to say too much about it because I’m English so it’s not my story to tell. However, one of the things I really love about Day of the Dead is how death is seen as another phase in the cycle of life. Something to be accepted not feared. If you would like to learn more about this joyful, rich celebration you can read more here and here.

Death can be a scary topic to broach

Some people shy away from topics like death with very young children. Maybe people are afraid they’re going to say the wrong thing or even frighten them. But death like any other topic is something that young children are already very much aware of. If we fail to talk about death with them, it becomes a topic that is taboo and children can develop greater fears due to the uncertainty that brings.

Start with your child’s questions and observations

At Stepping Stones, we prefer to discuss themes such as death with the children as they come up naturally within their observations of the world around them. We had such an opportunity recently. Here is more from our preschool team:

“This month, our kiddos discovered a squirrel had died in the alleyway. We checked in to see how everyone felt about it – some sadness, but mostly intrigue. Every day the children have taken it upon themselves to observe the squirrel – sometimes even noting bugs on it. This has brought up a lot of talk on life and death, and what happens to a physical form when it dies. Going in to November, we will be talking more about the process of decomposition and how things return to nature – from animals, to our food scraps, to ourselves.

As we move forward with exploring nature and the life that comes with it, we are committed to age appropriate, “death positive” practices that allow children to acknowledge that death is a part of our natural world.

To help continue these conversations about life and death at home, we’ve included a link below to a wonderful article about why talking about death is so important as well as a video that help broach these difficult conversations.”

Remember to keep it simple

If your children are asking questions about death that you’re not sure how to handle, remember to keep it honest and simple and let your child take the lead. Good luck!