With the sad news of Queen Elizabeth II death, a much loved and hugely respected public figure, her dedication to the public service and helping others, earning the love and affection of generations in the UK and across the commonwealth and the rest of the world can lead to children questioning and trying to understand what this all means.
For some children the word ‘death’ can be heard for the first time through the TV or through the radio which can prompt a lot of questions. Some children may have already unfortunately experienced bereavement and this could re-surface some difficult feelings.
Use clear language which is age appropriate
It can seem harsh and blunt, but adults can not shy away from using the words dead, died, or death this helps to create a clear definition for children.
Explain what death is using words or concepts they can understand
If your child is young and it is their first experience of death and do not fully understand the concept of death, you can explain to them in simple terms for example in nature the difference between which insects are alive and one which is dead.
Explaining about when someone dies, their body stops working and they cannot be brought back to life. They cannot talk, their heart stops being, they stop breathing and their brain stops thinking.
Reassuring your child
Your child may become worried about the news of the Queens death and worry about the people around them. Reassure them but try and not promise them that people last forever, say things like’ we are healthy and we are going to do all we can keep it that way.
Being honest with your child
Be open and honest with your child so there are no gaps for them to try and let their imagination run. There is a lot of information about the Queens death so being open and honest will help settle any anxiety.
Allow them to ask questions
Children’s minds can run away with them and they may have lots of questions to ask. Try and answer them honestly, if you don’t know the answer tell them you will fine out.
Talk about feelings
Let your child know it is ok to be feeling like this at the moment after hearing someone has died. Explain to your child how you are feeling so they know they are not alone and that it is ok if this re-surfaces certain situations that have happened previously.