Losing a pet isn’t easy for anyone, but generally harder for kids, as it’s often their first experience with death and grief. For this reason, it’s important that you teach your children healthy ways to grieve and ensure they have the time and space they need to mourn. Here are three tips to help young children cope with a pet’s death.
Stay Honest and Involve Your Child
Your first instinct may be to try and sugarcoat or cushion the reality of your pet’s death, but it’s highly encouraged that you avoid this. It’s okay for your child to be sad and figure out their emotions at their own pace, and trying to obfuscate the truth may further confuse or alarm them. Furthermore, as you’re putting your pet to rest, let your child be as involved as they wish to be. This can play a huge role in helping them find closure and comfort.
A great tip to help young children cope with a pet’s death is to encourage discussion. Talking about the process with your child can help them better understand the situation and come to terms with their pet’s passing, even if they can’t fully understand it with their current level of maturity. This also ensures they don’t feel alone in their grief and shows that you are there to support them as they wrestle with these complex emotions.
Make a Meaningful Gesture
Take the time to properly commemorate your companion with a pet funeral service. This recognizes the loss of the pet and helps your child feel validated in their grief. Furthermore, it can be hard for kids to feel like they have permission to be sad in their daily lives. An event like a funeral gives them the time and space they need to grieve without having to worry about their own responsibilities or the people around them judging them. A funeral for your pet is also a good way for your child to confront the reality of your pet’s passing, helping them tackle these new and difficult emotions head-on rather than struggling with them on their own.