When you lose your pet due to old age, illness, or an accident, dealing with its death is difficult for everyone in your family. If you have a child, you won’t even know where to start or how to break the news.
As your little one looks at your pet as another family member, you need to make sure he/she is okay during the grieving period. After all, you want everyone to come out stronger after the death of your pet and move on with their lives.
Although death is common in cartoons and movies, dealing with it first hand is quite challenging for children. The process tends to be confusing, as your little one no longer has your pet for emotional support. On top of that, you can’t protect your child from the series of events that took place.
Fortunately, you can use the five techniques discussed below to make sure your little one feels safe, helping him/her deal with the death appropriately.
When it comes to helping your child cope with the death of your pet, it is important that you remain honest and truthful at all times. Don’t follow what you see on TV shows and movies, as they try different tricks to prevent kids from knowing what really happened.
For example, they replace the old pet with a new one, hoping that the child won’t notice the difference. They will also use euphemisms to make the whole process of dealing with death easier for kids. However, these tactics don’t work in real life and there is a high chance that they will backfire. Euphemisms tend to scare or confuse your little one, as he/she doesn’t understand them.
As hard as it may seem, perhaps one of the best ways for your child to deal with the situation is to learn the truth. If your little one asks you questions, try to answer all of them in an age-appropriate manner.
It is a good practice for your child to let you know about what he/she is feeling due to the loss of your pet. You must make it a point to let your little one know that it is okay for him/her to express his/emotions in the house.
Even though your child may feel angry or sad that he/she is no longer able to be with your pet, it is okay. At the end of the day, you want your young one to feel safe and free. If your kid isn’t expressing a lot of emotions, it is completely okay since he/she may not completely understand the concept of death.
There are plenty of books written for children which you can read at night to help your kid deal with the death of your pet. You need to be available to your child as much as possible to make the whole process easier.
A lot of people believe that getting another pet is the right decision to help children cope with the death of the previous one. The belief is that a new four-legged friend will serve as a distraction, allowing kids to transition from the grieving period at a faster rate.
However, this won’t work as your child won’t be okay with you replacing the pet. It is essential for your young one to learn how to deal with loss and grief in a healthy manner. You need to give your child enough space so that he/she can understand the situation and move on. You need to be aware that there is no timeline on how long it will take for your young one to get over the death of your pet. Make sure that everyone is on the same page before you decide to adopt another animal.
It is much easier for your child to say the final goodbye to your pet by creating memories. For instance, you can make a tribute video for your beloved four-legged friend to showcase the importance of the animal in your family’s life. You can ask everyone to pitch in by selecting their favorite videos, photos, and music. After completing this project, you can showcase it to all family members during dinner.
Another way to remember your pet is to make portraits out of the pictures you took in the past. Print them and hang them around the house, which will ensure that your kid knows how important the four-legged friend was to the family. You can also ask your child to create the artwork and display it in the house, as it is more personal.
Another option would be to create a bowl full of happy memories with your pet. It can be anything ranging from favorite photos to wonderful things your family members want to say about the pet. Every time your kid or anyone in the house is feeling low, they can use the bowl to uplift their mood.
It is quite painful for all your family members to organize and attend the funeral of your pet. So you need to ask your little one if he/she feels like attending this occasion. Don’t force your child if he/she doesn’t want to come; you need to respect his/her wishes.
If your little one decides to come, it will help your kid get closure. Make sure your child plays a role during the entire process, such as marking the grave or helping out with other activities. It will help your little one say a final goodbye, which will help in getting over the death of the pet.
Let your child know that even though your pet may no longer be in this world, you and the rest of your family will always cherish its existence with happy memories. Although it is hard for your child, it will become easier to deal with death and continue with his/her life!
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