Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Talking to small children about the death of a beloved animal


When you have animals life and death are something you have to face on a regular basis. Being born, life, death; it´s all part of the circle of life. When there are children in the family it´s important to encourage questions about these matters. Especially when a beloved animal dies.

Our Moe, the baby alpaca didn´t wake up yesterday. He wasn´t sick, he never suffered, he just didn´t wake up from his sleep. Hayley is too young to notice that Moe is missing since we have so many animals and they didn´t have a special connection.

If I was to explain his death to a toddler I would simply say that his body stopped working. At this age everything in their world is literally and I would make it as concrete and simple as possible. I would speak clearly about the very basic things, not over explain or talk too much. It´s better to just be there for the child and answer any question the child may have. It´s often comforting to see where the beloved animal is buried.
If the child is older than six years of age they begin to understand more about death but it´s still best with clear, simple, explanations about what happened. Children understand more than we think and I believe in honest answers. That is much better than just avoiding a sensitive matter, or give vague answers. If they have questions we don´t have an answer to it´s OK to say that we don´t know.

One of my son’s favorite things to do (he´s seven) is to go to the library and search for answers together. I always encouraged him to ask questions. The art of finding answers to questions is changing all the time. Maybe we can´t find all the answers in a book. Maybe we have to Google the answers together with our kids, visit a museum, talk to an elderly person, travel together…If our kids are aware of the importance of continuing to ask and search for new knowledge they will be successful in life.


  1. So sorry that you lost one of your beloved alpacas. Sounds like you are doing a great job in helping your children to understand what happened in an age-appropriate way.

    1. Thank you Shawn. Sad but a reality when you have animals. Thanks for your thoughts. /Maria

  2. It is rough. My sister died from cancer recently and I know how hard that explanation can be for toddlers.
    New follower from Harvest of Friends hop. So glad to have found you.
    Hope you will hop over and follow back. We also have a Christmas give away going on. Come check it out.


    1. Yes it is. I can´t imagine your situation. So sorry to hear that. I lost my mother to cancer but that was a long time ago. If there´s anything I can do let me know.

      Looking forward to follow you :)

      xo Maria


I´d love to hear what you think about todays post. Did you relate to the topic?