How Do You Explain Death To Little Ones?

Sinisa’s mom passed away yesterday morning. Along with all of the other things that need to be figured out when a loved one is lost, parents of little children face a unique challenge…how do you explain what happened in a way that is age appropriate?

Our boys are 4 and 5. I don’t think Lucas will comprehend what is going on but we need to tell Jacob, our 5 year old, about his grandma. We believe in Heaven and so I want that theme to be included, however the last time that I tried to come from a “they are in Heaven” perspective (when he saw something about someone we didn’t know passing away) Jacob said he didn’t want to die. While Heaven reduces the scariness of death, I definitely don’t want him to be thinking that it is going to happen to him, too.

I’d love your thoughts and ideas on how you explained the loss of a family member to your child. We don’t want to wait too long to tell the kids but we want to make sure that we do it in the right way.