When should you talk about death with young children?

At what age is it appropriate to talk about death with young children? I’m not talking specifically about the death of someone close, but death in general. Our 4 year old’s experience of death so far is limited to her Nanny’s dog, and to a Great Grandma she never met, so it seems quite an abstract understanding of death so far, more of absence.

So the question is, how should we talk to her about death, when should we… heck should we talk to a small child about death?

Best wishes

Copse Magazine reader

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photo credit:  natalia peris


Adam is the Publisher of Copse Magazine and owner of Sailfin. He spends his time hosting and making websites for other people, copywriting, and publishing white label content for other companies alongside Copse Magazine, his creative outlet. He has two children and lives in Kent in the South East of the UK.

1 Comment

  1. Ann Rowland, Director of Family Bereavement Service at the Child Bereavement Charity said:

    “Talking to a young child about death and dying is incredibly difficult and can sometimes  feel just too hard to do. As a parent, there is a natural instinct to protect children from the tough things in life. However, from a very young age children have a natural interest in things that are living and dead: they are interested if they find a dead worm on a path and will ask about it.  We know that from about the age of three, children can understand the difference between something that is dead and alive, although they do not grasp the fact that death is permanent, irreversible and happens to all living things, until they are quite a bit older.   Children can be introduced to the concepts of life and death through the natural life cycle they see around them,  by adults answering their natural curious questions in an open, honest and age appropriate way. These natural conversations will enable  parents and children to develop a vocabulary to talk together about death and dying which will help, should a parent have to explain to a young child that  someone close to them is dying or has died.

    The Child Bereavement Charity have developed an information sheet about explaining death to young children

    The support and information team is available on 01494 568900  or email: support@childbereavement.org.uk  to answer specific questions that parents may have.

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