Our children’s minds are constantly evolving. From the moment they are born to the time they begin to recognize objects, sounds and familiar faces, they are soaking up every possible thing. To enhance and further their learning, many parents will reach for a simple, yet powerful tool—a book. Books have the ability to tell our children stories we don’t have the capacity or sometimes, energy to tell (sleep deprivation). The pages provide a window to an outside world they may never see or experience; yet they are able to learn, visualize and witness this story with a turn of a page.
Just like any story filled with adventure, love, tragedy or heroism, a child’s mind will only further these emotions once the story ends. It is only natural for comments to ensue and questions to arise. However, what about the topics that may be harder for them to understand? As parents do we shy away from the harder topics; most specifically the topic of death?
Death is hard for grown adults to handle, let alone children. Many of us chalk up this hardship to “hoping they don’t remember or they don’t understand.” But nowadays, we are inundated with information that can be scary and negative; especially when something tragic or horrific happens. It becomes nearly impossible to shield our children from all of it. However, is shielding them from death and tragedy the right answer?
Our answer is to be open and reach for the same powerful tool you did when you taught them about adventure or love. Grief and death should be no different; therefore we offer some books, including a FREE E-Book that may help you explain these harder topics to your little ones.
“When a close friend or family member dies, it can be difficult for children to express their feelings. This book helps boys and girls understand that death is a natural complement to life, and that grief and a sense of loss are normal feelings for them to have following a loved one's death.”
“Tommy is four years old, and he loves visiting the home of his grandmother, Nana Downstairs, and his great-grandmother, Nana Upstairs. But one day Tommy's mother tells him Nana Upstairs won't be there anymore, and Tommy must struggle with saying good-bye to someone he loves.”
“With tender words, her Papa describes a wonderful place, free of sadness and tears, where God warmly welcomes his loved ones after their life on earth is over. Little Cub and Papa spend the day wandering their beautiful, invigorating arctic world while she asks all about God’s home: How do we get to heaven? Will we eat there? Will I get to see you in heaven? Papa patiently answers each question, assuring her that…"
“Heaven will be full of everything good.”
“Happiness, sadness, bravery, anger, shyness . . . our hearts can feel so many feelings! Some make us feel as light as a balloon, others as heavy as an elephant. In My Heart explores a full range of emotions, describing how they feel physically, inside.”
“The death of a loved one is painful, and often an overwhelming experience at any age. Amidst coping with your own grief, you may be faced with talking with your child about death and dying, and might struggle with the question, "Should my child attend the funeral?" Download a FREE E-book from our website.
These titles are just a few examples of how death and grief can be explained to little ones. While we may be reluctant or wary of the topic, it is imperative to keep communication open with our children so they can better understand the many different stories life can give to us.
Please reach out to us at (773) 767-2166 in Chicago or at (708) 839-8999 in Willow Springs to let us know if you have a book suggestion you have found helpful. Please visit our Grief Support page for additional resources geared for children and youth.