"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16

   


Death, though a natural part of life, can be a scary concept for children. The idea that someone's life (or even their own) 
could suddenly end might stir up feelings of fear and uncertainty. Helping children understand death is an 
important part of their growth and spiritual maturity.

1 in 5 children will experience the death 
of someone close to them by age 18.

There's no denying that your child will, at some point, experience the death of a loved one. No matter how young your child is, it's important to begin answering his/her questions about death. When we trust Jesus and put Him in control of our lives, we don't have to be afraid of death. When we die, we will get to spend eternity in Heaven with God! Being open about death and the hope we have in Christ can help relieve fears your child may have about death. 

There are many natural ways to begin conversations with your child about death.  Let your child attend a funeral with you; 
use TV and movie scenes about death to start conversations; look up Bible verses together;  talk about the death of a pet.
Be as honest as possible and avoid figurative language
(such as passed away, gone, or resting); children need
concrete terms that they can understand.

Experiencing the death of a loved one will always 
bring pain and questions; make sure that your child knows you want to be a part of his/her grieving process and that you are always available to talk or listen.  Communication is so very important throughout grieving and healing. There is no one way to grieve, so create a healthy space for your child to express himself/herself.

Below you will find several resources to help guide your child through the grieving process and lists of both healthy and unhealthy grief symptoms your child may exhibit. 
We are always here for your family; please let us know 
how we can be in prayer for you!


In Him,
Cliff Cary & Sarah Stevens



   

Here are some questions 
kids might ask about death: 


Where do we go when we die?

Every person who trusts in Jesus will go to Heaven when they die. Those who do not trust Jesus will be separated from Him forever. Our earthly bodies will die, but our souls will live forever in Heaven. This is a great time to talk with your child about salvation and the promise of John 3:16.

Why is everyone smiling and laughing as we talk about grandpa? Shouldn't we be sad?  

It's ok to be sad when someone we love dies. We will miss seeing and talking to them. When families get together after someone dies, it's good to cry and be sad together, but it's also good to remember the happy memories with our loved one. Help your child understand that people all grieve differently. Some people cry when someone they love dies; other people become angry, and some people don't want to talk to anyone at all. No matter what your child is feeling, make sure he/she knows that you are available to talk and listen.



When will I die?

We don't know what God has planned for our lives, but we can trust that He will always take care of us. Help your child understand that, when we trust Jesus to be the leader of our lives, we have the hope of eternal life with Him in Heaven. Assure him/her that God has a great plan for his/her life.

What will happen at the funeral?
 
Viewing/Open Casket: If there will be an open casket at the funeral/viewing, then explain to your child what it will look like. 
Ask your child if he/she would like to see
 the open casket; don't assume that your child is too young or uninterested. 
Seeing the casket allows children to  both have closure and say a final goodbye.

Funeral : Explain that your family will have  a special time talking about your loved one. The preacher will share stories and  memories from his/her life, read Bible verses, and say special prayers for your family. 



  These resources are great guides
to help explain death to your child
in a way that he/she will understand.

 
By Eric E. Rofes

This books helps you understand how to openly and honestly talk with your child about death in a way that facilitates both healthy grieving and healing.
By Joseph M. Primo

This book offers practical tools, up-to-date research, humor, and helpful 
ways to create 
a safe space for age-appropriate grieving.
By Daryl J. Lucas

This books is a great tool in knowing how to answer difficult questions kids might ask about death, heaven, and angels.

 
By PBS & Sesame Street

This great PDF booklet guides you in explaining death to your child and helping him/her understand the emotions we feel when we grieve. 
It also gives parents an explanation of how children 
grieve and how 
to understand 
and love your 
child through 
that process.
By Candy Arrington

This article gives you a step-by-step guide to leading your child through the grieving process. It even gives a chart of how children of different ages might grieve and what coping mechanisms might be helpful in the healing process. 
By Phyllis R. Silverman

This short blog post explores the importance of helping children understand the feelings they have while grieving and mourning. Helping children define grieving and identifying symptoms of grief will aid in their coping and healing.



"Now the dwelling of God is with men, 
and He will live with them. They will be 
His people, and God Himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be  no more death or mourning or crying or pain..."

Revelation 21:3-4


  These are some great resources
to read together with your child!

 




By Christine Harder Tangvald

This interactive book is designed to help kids process their thoughts and emotions after 
the death of 
a loved one. Workbook-style pages help children identify feelings of grief and know what to expect throughout the grieving process.
By Kathleen Long Bostrom

The death of a pet is often a child's 
first experience with death. 
This stroybook about a boy whose dog dies helps 
you know how 
to answer 
common questions that arise 
because of the death  of a pet.
By Victoria Ryan

This book gives simple conversation starters and activities to help guide your child through the grieving process
of losing a grandparent. The Foreword gives great tips on how to talk with your child about death.






By Pat Schwiebert 
& Chuck DeKlyen

This storybook, though a bit long, gives the perfect analogy to help older children understand the emotions and feelings that come with grief and know how to care for themselves and others after the loss of a loved one.
By PBS Kids
& Sesame Street

Use these printable cards to explore different ways to work through grief together as a family. Each card offers talking points and creative ideas 
to start conversations about death 
and loss.
By Michaelene Mundy

This book helps children work through the different emotions and reactions that come with loss and helps them
understand that, even after the death of a loved one, the world is still safe and that life can still be good. 

We are here for you!
Please call or email us if you have any questions, 
would like additional resources, etc.

             Cliff Cary                                 Sarah Stevens
    Minister to Children        Associate Minister to Children      cliff@firstamarillo.org            sarah@firstamarillo.org

FBC Amarillo
1208 S. Tyler
(806) 373-2891
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