By school age, children understand that death is an irreversible event. Even though they recognize that death is something more than going to sleep for a long time, they still may have many unanswered questions they may not verbalize: “Where did Grandma go when she died? What is she feeling? Is she in pain? Why did she die? Can we ever see her again? Are you going to die too? Who will take care of me if you die?” Offer opportunities for your child to ask these questions. The more open, honest, and straightforward your answers are, the better he will fare through the grieving process. 

The reactions of children to death are highly personal. One child might quietly and sadly express his grief. Another might become rambunctious and oppositional. Still another might become extremely anxious. Children often take their cues from watching the reactions of other family members, particularly...

You do not currently have access to this content.