Kids and pets just go together like peanut butter and jelly. The right family pet can teach your little human SO much about life. But they can also bring a lot of heartbreak when they leave us. Teaching kids about the passing of a family pet can be a LOT harder than it seems, but here’s some help.
Why you need to be teaching kids about the passing of a family pet
Death is, sadly, an inevitable part of all life. We have to accept it. And we have to teach our kids how to deal with it as well. When we use family pets and their passing as an opportunity for teaching, it’ll make dealing with the death of a loved one easier for them later on in life.
Yes, pets are often considered as family members. They are our kids’ truest companions. And even in death, they can still teach our kids amazing lessons in life.
Tips for teaching kids about the passing of a family pet
It’s never easy to discuss the death of a family pet with kids, but it’s unavoidable. Choose a time when your kids won’t be distracted. And make sure they’re in a comfortable space before starting the discussion.
According to your kid’s age and maturity level, you should also adapt your language and the details you share. Make sure your conversation is guided by the type of questions your kids ask. Here are some other guidelines on teaching kids about the passing of a family pet:
- If your pet is old or ill, talk to your children about his suffering and deteriorating health. Also discuss why he needs to go to dog heaven. Prepare them for the inevitable. But encourage them to enjoy the last few days or weeks they might still have with their pet.
- If you had to put your dog down, you need to explain to your kids that he was never going to get better. Putting pets down is one of the kindest ways to relieve their pain and discomfort. And your kids need to understand that. Explain to them that this was a necessary step in order to ensure your pet was no longer in pain and suffering.
- If your family pet died suddenly, always be honest with them about what happened. You don’t need to go in-depth with the details, but answer their questions as honestly as possible.
- Never lie to your kids about the death of a pet. They’ll have a false hope of the pet returning, and if they find out you lied, they’ll have trust issues as well.
- Explain to your kids how ‘dog years’ is much shorter and much more intense than ‘human years’.