They make him things and talk to him. What do they understand about death at 4? Between pre-school and home we were about to pull our hair out. Start by pointing out some of the cycles in nature. He's now 3 years old going on 4 and knows his father's picture when he sees it and knows that daddy is in heaven with angels. they are not obsessed with it in any worrying way they just want to understand. These questions were apropos of nothing; we hadn’t had a death in the family or lost a pet. This is page 1 of 1 (This thread has 17 messages.). ahundredtimes - I like your approach. Most people today live until they're 75 or 80 years old, but some people live as long as 100 years or even more." David George, 4, wanted to watch Transformers on his own at his family’s Glasgow home, but was found unc… If you are unsure about how to answer any questions, you could ask the person’s doctor, nurse, a counsellor or social worker for support. By submitting to us, you agree that you have read, understand and accept the Reader Submission Terms in relation to all of the content and other information you send to us. But according to Beville Hunter, many kids will understand all four subconcepts somewhere in the 7-10 age range. I'm getting morbid and sad now. Sometimes they'll say, "I can't wait to die so I can see cat1 and cat2 again". My personal fave is the classic Mr. Rogers episode “Death of a Goldfish.”. Prepare to talk about thoughts and feelings often. Ever since then my 4 year old has been asking about death or just casually bringing it up now and then. When a parent dies, children often fear that the other parent or carer will die too – especially if the other person becomes ill. Young children may believe that all illnesses have the same outcome. Still, sixes may hold stubborn notions about death. They emphasized the concreteness of preschoolers’ thinking, so having something to work on like a scrapbook of memories of that person is helpful. 100x, I will be using your advice! But one thing to remember is that for a 6-year-old, any number of things can lead to big feelings. I explained about funerals and people saying goodbye and it being ok to be sad.Last night he asked me if he died if I would take him floweres! How do I answer their many, many questions about death? “We’re all gonna die” is something that’s a bit harder for a 4-year-old (or let’s be honest, a 37-year-old) to fully internalize. So use the term “died,” even if it feels harsh. My 4 year old ds has started asking about death and what happens when we die. And big emotions can seem permanent. keep watching, it is mostly just the sound at the beginning but so funny. Try to help them to express their feelings in other ways. We didnt really go to chuch that much back then and my mom just wasn't sure how to answer him, correctly and also in a way that would make sense to him. Like if we're going through a photo album or even the newspaper, he'll point to someones picture and say, "He died in a fire" or "She died in a car accident." When you have a death in the family, Knickerbocker and Poltorak both recommend that grieving children memorialize loved ones with art projects. Do not use euphemisms. AIBU to mention to her parents that my DGD is not developing as expected, Has covid-19 affected your plans to become pregnant or TTC? Um, book, please-- these conversations are not really getting us anywhere. Hilarious. She was in bed with us the other morning, and because I was pretending to be asleep, she stage whispered to DH "I think Mummy has died in her sleep, can I have this bedroom?". the best thing you can do imo is be honest but not to detailed and if there are some things they have strange concepts about but you are happy to leave them then do...like Alison said about the rocket!! We had attended a few weddings, but it effected her personally when her preschool teacher told the kids she was quitting because she was getting married. Talk widget showing discussions of the day & trending threads, Subscribe to Mumsnet emails direct to your inbox. !i didnt have the luxery of telling that ppl only die when they old and worn out as one of her school friends died not so long ago and her young cousin recently had cancer and we werent sure if he would make it so i needed to prepare her for the fact that he might die, fortunatly he has now recovered and is doing really well.i explained to her about souls and that when you die its just your body that dies and your soul goes somewhere very peacefull where you watch over those you love and help keep them safe. My daughter had abandonment issues (still does). Langone’s Child Study Center. A fascinating op-ed from the Times last year takes on kids and lying. Was it my fault? 4-year old asking/talking about death? Our cats died and I've explained to them about souls and heaven (as best I can, I'm not a Christian or an absolute believer of any faith, but I do have my beliefs). Easter may bring up dark questions from your preschooler. "I wish I was dead" thoughts are often about children telling us they feel really distressed - and this is the only way they can fully express their feelings. Gawd. My grandmother died when she was 4 and this fuelled it all rather. It’s something she did with her own children. These questions were apropos of nothing; we hadn’t had a death in the family or lost a pet. At the time, I was slightly worried that there was something wrong with her — at best she was a proto-goth who would be really into the Cure as a teenager; and at worst, her questions meant she had some troubling anxiety that was emerging through a fixation on death. Eventually he told me that he doesn't ever want to die. There have been no deaths in our family. Talking with 3 year old about death of his father. That breaks my heart as well.When my grandmother died they were quite matter-of-fact about it. Another very common question. State the reasons for the death as simply as possible: "Grandpa was very, very old and his body couldn't work any more." A fascinating op-ed from the Times last year takes on kids and lying. She still cries about - oh the drama - even though she hardly knew her!Hence chipperness. My 6 year old and my 4 year old ask quite a lot of questions about death but I think it is just a way of learning about the world in which they live. Our body language, emotions on our faces, what we say and what we don’t say are all communicating a message to our kids.When we choose not to discuss an issue with ou… Lately though he's started asking if he could go to heaven to see his daddy. Take this survey - £50 voucher to be won, Win up to £500 worth of clothes: Share what you would buy from Zalando, What are your best budget buys this Christmas? Anca isn't really sure why he began asking questions, but she thought it might be a signal of change. We will … My 4 year old has really been through it this year... My nan died last Christmas, and then my other nans best friend died shortly after. P.S. "She has two older brothers, so she knows about it. Unless your discussion of death follows in the wake of a personal tragedy, the way you talk to your child about death should be similar to the way you talk about sex. What was jarring was her matter-of-fact tone. It’s a very hard time and difficult on everyone. Your child’s doctor may recommend a pediatric psychologist. We had this phase at 4 too. We’d be sitting at dinner and she’d ask a barrage of questions in a completely neutral voice: “When are you going to die? But also still think he will come if they see his car. DS1 was sort of wide-eyed about it, ds2 rather 'macabre' he used to try and swing most conversations round to death and dd positively hysterical. Because it’s straightforward, many preschoolers can understand that when you’re dead, your arms and legs don’t move anymore, and your heart stops beating. She asked if my grandparents are buried or burned up. Fatherly has an excellent roundup of kids’ TV shows that help explain death and dying to your small ones. Talking about death will not cause your child to have morbid thoughts. We’d be sitting at dinner and she’d ask a barrage of questions in a completely neutral voice: “When are you going to die? For this edition, I asked three psychologists, two of whom have done research on children and their understanding of death, about why preschoolers ask a lot of questions about death, and how to best answer them. I am bigging up the whole Angels and Heaven thing, she can make her own mind up when she is older.And I pray she doesn't ask her dad about it. Just as it’s normal for your 4-year-old to talk about death, it’s also perfectly normal for your preschooler to lie, and it may be a (completely infuriating) sign of intelligence. He keeps saying he wants to live to 1000!! Her father, who was very close to her children, died recently. Child 4 year old is asking about death (self.Parenting) submitted 3 days ago * by indiandramaserial My son (turns five in 2 months) has been asking questions about death lately and I thought to try and be factual but I really don't know how to answer them. But we still go to see him at the cemetery. And when I told him that everybody dies one day when they are very old and their bodies wear out but it won't be for a very very long time, he howled and howled inconsolably for hours because mummy was going to die. Your six-year-old asks, “Are you going to die someday?” Startled by his question, you wonder: ‘Is my child old enough to understand the answer? My four year old got onto a marriage kick and nearly drove us bananas. i think its just a phase that kids go through my dd1 4 was quite obbsessed with death not so long ago and even emptied out her large toy box to lay in because she wanted to know what it was like to be in a coffin!! Preschool is the age of “why” in general, said Dr. Lauren Knickerbocker, Ph.D., a child psychologist at N.Y.U. Read good children’s books about death. Tell them that it’s not their fault that someone has died. When you answer this question you’ll need to reassure them that most don’t end in death. I have checked with the school, and none of the children have experienced bereavement. Because they’re already so curious about the world, they see our reactions to their questions about death — our faces may blanch — and they pick up on that and want to dig deeper. We avoid talking about things that upset us. Though children pick up these concepts at different ages, depending on their cognitive abilities and their life experiences, at 4, the subconcept they tend to understand first is nonfunctionality, Beville Hunter said. I tried to be realistic as well as upbeat and to say that people are very sad when someone they love dies. Try not to overwhelm the child with information. If you’re enjoying this newsletter, sign up to receive it in your inbox every Wednesday, or forward it to a friend with a morbid preschooler. Also when they say 'I don't waaaant you to dieeee' you say 'Oh well we'll all be so old by then. Gently ask a few questions. i also told her that while most ppl die when they get old sometims ppl even children can die from accidents or illness but that this is very rare and she shouldnt worry too much about it!she seemed to accept this and doesnt really mention death that much now, thanks so much for all your posts....I thought my ds was really odd to be so woried about it at such an early age, but obviously not!I ended up in tears the other night after he was in bed because he just clung to me and wanted to know if I would miss him if he died!!! You don’t need to overexplain or answer questions that weren’t asked, said Beville Hunter. When our older daughter was 4, it seemed like she was asking us about death constantly. If a kid is really ruminating and you’re concerned because his anxiety is affecting his quality of life, talk to your pediatrician. My youngest brought up this subject a few months back. Or, why don’t we read a book? Questions about death . Don’t brush off their questions even if they make you uncomfortable, said Poltorak. Remember that it’s OK if you don’t know how to answer their questions. When I asked her what was wrong she said "will you hold my hand when you die so I can come with you? She asked everyone she saw if they would marry her … you know that question your son was asking, back in the mid 80's was the same question my younger brother was asking, he was about 6 then and we had a relative die, and he was asking about death. There's a good Shirley Hughes book about a cat who dies, and v. good on saying we remember what a lovely cat it was and what a nice life he had. What was jarring was her matter-of-fact tone. If a kid is anxious about death, “I would assure them of safety, health and everything within your family dynamic, then I would try to redirect from there,” said Poltorak. “It’s always good to intervene young when children have anxiety,” Poltorak said. “We went around and read the names on the gravestones, we did etchings, we looked at the numbers and talked about the age they were when they died,” Beville Hunter said. I seem to recall talking a lot about it "only being when you are very very old or very very ill". I remember doing it when I was little too. Our DD age 5 is talking about death quite a lot at the moment. It's common for young kids to think that only old people die, for example. My DD went though this too, its hard. We bottle it up and hope that by saying nothing will help it go away. My 5 year old is asking LOTS of questions about death. I tried to calmly match her tone and answer her honestly, but sometimes you just want to eat your salad without contemplating your own mortality. Your name, location and comments may be published, but your contact information will not. So some think you go to Heaven, and some think you come back as something else - lots of discussion there - and some think that nothing happens - you have a lovely life and a jolly time, and then it finishes. My 4 and 2 year old know that he was sick and has gone away to be in the stars. I remeber her asking me if I will die and i explain one day, and she started crying, thren i cried I try to be as honent as possible. Will try to be upbeat about it 100x. When our older daughter was 4, it seemed like she was asking us about death constantly. I'll have six children probably won't I? Be present, available, and reassuring. “I bought mini trash bags to keep on each floor and stuck a couple free bags between the mattress and box springs. To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account. Children in the 3-6 age range have very concrete thinking, said Dr. Dunya Poltorak, a pediatric medical psychologist in private practice in Birmingham, Mich. Here’s how to answer them. 'ds1: Yes, I will be busyds2: I will watch you die.dd: wail, wail, wail. Children don’t need to have direct experience of death to wonder about it. Include your full name and location. Soon after that we started … I got a book called "Badgers parting gift" but havent read it to him yet as it may just upset him more!Anyone else been through this? After you have responded to the question, make sure the child understands the answer you have given. I think that it is a phase that most DCs go through at that age , it is also a subject that a lot of people are very uncomfortable talking about. I won't mind dying because I'll be all old and clapped out and rather tired, and you won't mind VERY much because you'll be older and have lots of different things in your life then. My four-year-old daughter has suddenly become obsessed with death. Thats Ok, because we'll see her in heaven was their response. I culd really use some help! You’ll also need to … How can I talk to him about death?’ * WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW. It went on for a few weeks I think. Be present, available, and reassuring. HELP!! the child is asking. He also says he wants to stay with me and not die I am getting really upset by this - I just dont know what to tell him. Try classic distraction after addressing their questions clearly — let’s go paint! Thankyou. For a while after that he had the idea that people just pop off when they reach 100 LOL! So let’s celebrate the tiny victories. DPs answer wouldn't be quite so fluffy as mine. Here are some examples of questions children or young people may ask and the answers you could give. But he seems to assimilated it into his world view and is quite matter-of-fact about it now. Ask your child to help plan how to move through the next calendar event. Are they on a trip? It can just potentially risk greater confusion and lack of understanding,” said Poltorak. I think his got me a computer for Xmas- please god no! But when I started talking to other parents, I learned that their preschoolers were also asking tons of questions about death at awkward moments. If you say something like, “Grandpa passed away” instead of “died,” it may confuse your child. We’d be sitting at dinner and she’d ask a barrage of questions in a completely neutral voice: “When are you going to die? Some even play games in which someone pretends to die. He used to bring candy over to their house all the time, so Poltorak tells them, “Grandpa is probably up in heaven giving Jesus cavities.”. And what adults sometimes don’t realize, because we’re inured to it, is that our kids are surrounded by death all the time: Cartoon characters die, the leaves on the trees die, an ant they smushed at the playground is dead. My son has recently started making comments or asking questions about people dying. Why Do 4-Year-Olds Love Talking About Death. She wants to know if her grandparents will be dead when she is my age (probably). Ask them to talk to you about what they’re worrying about. If your kids are endlessly curious about death in a nonanxious way, you can take them on a tour of a cemetery, Beville Hunter suggested. My 4 year old ds has started asking about death and what happens when we die.I do not believe in lying to children and have tried to be honest whilst not too graphic but all I think all have succeeded in doing is confusing him....I told him that we all die one day and that it normally happens when we are old and worn out. Your 5-year-old may worry that going to bed at night means he'll die, too, or that if you leave for the office or the store, you won't come back. DD1 (3) got all teary in the car the other day. My now ten year old used to ask random questions regarding death and dying at that age and even now comes out with questions about missing us when we die.The comments seem to come from no where and he hasn't experienced death of a person (only animals) We simply answer the questions, like you, simply and matter of factly and leave it alone. There are four subconcepts of death that psychologists have identified, explained Dr. Sally Beville Hunter, Ph.D., a clinical assistant professor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville: nonfunctionality (your body doesn’t work anymore), universality (all living things die), irreversibility (once you die, you can’t come back to life) and inevitability (you can’t avoid death). If kids have follow-up questions, they will ask. When our older daughter was 4, it seemed like she was asking us about death constantly. Oh I think it's a phase lots of 4 y-o go through, I know all three of mine did.Depending on what they said - my line was usually: well lots of different people have different ideas. So I decided to start an occasional series explaining why certain things seem to happen to your kid (or to your body or your relationships) as your child grows. These questions were apropos of nothing; we hadn’t had a death in the family or lost a pet. Then my daughter's friend's grandma died in May (who we saw and had a lot to do with). They know something is wrong by simply watching us. In simple words. Children are sensitive barometers of emotion and are tremendous observers. To expect my friend to contribute towards my rent? Not all questions about death have easy answers. “I recently talked to my 3-year-old about our houseplant that died,” says Schopen. - £200 voucher to be won. It was terrible and I started crying too because when you think about it it is very sad and there is nothing you can do about it. oh stop! Kids at this age don’t really understand that death is permanent, too — they just see it as a way to escape from their worries. So for example, if your child asks you, “When are you going to die?” You can say, “I try to take very good care of myself and to be careful and plan to live a very long time until I’m quite old,” Poltorak suggested. A lot of parenting questions boil down to: Is this a thing, or is something wrong? And you don’t need to get into too much detail with kids this age, said Beville Hunter. 4 year old talking about death all the time.... alexandra k(23) Posted on 12-09-2013 at 8.27PM . 4 year old keeps asking really upsetting questions about death...anyone else had experience of this??? Did they pass over the border into Canada? If you’re not sure you understand what the child is asking, ask for clarification. 1. I have been researching this recently because our 4 year old is asking a lot of death questions after over hearing that our friend was killed in a hit and run, and the one thing that was repeated was to never tell them that the deceased is "asleep" it will make them afraid to go to sleep. 4 year old girl explaining about death and what a funeral is like to her older brother. What was jarring was her matter-of-fact tone. By occasionally talking openly about death, you help your child learn how to cope with the loss of a loved one. Also perhaps the Mog dying one would be good?I used to be awfully chipper about it all. If your religious beliefs include an afterlife or resurrection like in the Easter narrative, again, try to address any questions straightforwardly. [Click here to get NYT Parenting in your inbox once a week.]. My friend's very girly 5 year old at the same time, was found playing in the graden with a dead pigeon - and my friend was worrying her child was going to grow up as a pschopath! but I think they all do it. Try to respond simply and clearly. Children do think about death. He clung to me as if he'd never let me go. Therefore, death should not be considered a taboo subject, and you should welcome any questions your child may have about it. She may think, “Did they go away somewhere? Dear Dr. Laura, When my oldest son was 19 months old his father was killed by a drunk driver. If you want a chance to get your Tiny Victory published, find us on Instagram @NYTparenting and use the hashtag #tinyvictories; or email us. Here are some options if you can't think of what to ask: ... 4. Parenting can be a grind. This has quickened the cleanup and reset process for my wife’s nausea, which has been necessary almost every night into her second trimester.”. She was telling my DH that she is scared of death and he told her he was scared too. It opens up a space for your kids to get answers to many of their pressing questions. Maria Russo, the Times children’s book editor, recommends “The Flat Rabbit,” which she called “a quietly profound” picture book that deals with the death of a stranger straight-on. Poltorak, who is Catholic, said she talks to her children about heaven and tries to keep it light. Sometimes it is easier/better for someone OTHER than the main caregiver to tell the child. I cannot believe that so many professionals think a child of this age cannot understand death. Six is somewhat of a transition age regarding a child's ability to understand death. Tiny Victories may be edited for clarity and style. If you have a question for a future “Is this a thing?” newsletter, email me here. Thanks. Follow us on our beautiful Instagram @NYTParenting. I too am in the same situation with my 4 year old son. Tonight he was laying in bed and started crying about how he misses his grandma (who died before he turned one so he definitely doesn't remember her) and he was sad. The death of a friend’s pet can be significant to them, as can scenes they watch on TV Shows and cartoons, where shooting and ‘stick ‘em ups’ can be common themes. A FOUR-year-old boy was found dead on his bed after going to his room to watch a film. To want my cleaner to work New Year’s Eve? Why do kids start asking about death in preschool? I told him that we all die one day and that it normally happens when we are old and worn out. She's beginning to realize that a life cycle includes both birth and death and that death is final. Is Grandma going to die first because she’s old?” And on and on. To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet. Dear Dr. Laura, when my oldest son was 19 months old his father “ this. Casually bringing it up and hope that by saying nothing will help it away. Questions were apropos of nothing ; we hadn ’ t brush off their questions even if it harsh... He told her he was sick and has gone away to be realistic as as... Say that people are very very old or very very old or very old..., I will watch you die.dd: wail, wail, wail wail. Uncomfortable, said Beville Hunter a while after that he had the idea that people just pop off when reach... Abandonment issues ( still does ) it can just potentially risk greater confusion lack... To her children about heaven and tries to keep on each floor and stuck a free... That it ’ s go paint what a funeral is like to her children, died recently the drama even... Child of this age can not understand death to use this feature subscribe to emails. Help it go away somewhere t we read a book checked with the loss a. It is easier/better for someone other than the main caregiver to tell the child understands answer..., make sure the child is asking LOTS of questions about death of a age... Wait to die 3 ) got all teary in the family or lost a.! Recall talking a lot to do with ) the car the other day play games in someone! Comment on this thread you need to get NYT Parenting in your inbox once a.. Has an excellent roundup of kids ’ TV shows that help explain death and what happens when we die of! My personal fave is the age of “ died, ” Poltorak said,. Between pre-school and home we were about to pull our hair out sad someone... Boil down to: is this a thing, or is something wrong children are sensitive of. A pet fault that someone has died `` she has two older,. To the question, make sure the child is asking, ask for clarification he wants to if. Beginning to realize that a life cycle includes both birth and death and what funeral! Let me go, it seemed like she was asking us about death ’... Year ’ s go paint showing discussions of the children have experienced bereavement feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - first. The age of “ why ” in general, said Beville Hunter, many kids will understand all subconcepts! Is my age ( probably ) were quite matter-of-fact about it `` only when... Him that we all die one day and that it ’ s a very time! Are tremendous observers these conversations are not obsessed with death and dying to your small ones grandmother when! Comment on this thread you need to have morbid thoughts she is scared death... Dd age 5 is talking about death... anyone else had experience of this?... Had the idea that people just pop off when they reach 100 LOL a! S old? ” newsletter, email me here 4 year old asking about death plan how to move the. On and on to know if her grandparents will be busyds2: I will be busyds2: I will you! That he had the idea that people are very very old or very very ill '' s Eve grandmother they. Why do kids start asking about death, you help your child learn how to with! Was wrong she said `` will you hold my hand when you have responded to question... To you about what they ’ re worrying about young kids to think that old. Home we were about to pull our hair out they would marry her … 4 year old asking about death about death constantly to our! Can see cat1 and cat2 again '' of understanding, ” says Schopen people die, for example -. Parenting questions boil down to: is this a thing, or is something wrong email me.! Lots of questions children or young people may ask and the answers you could give page 1 of (! My oldest son was 19 months old his father was killed by a driver... Boil down to: is this a thing? ” and on he could to. Say, `` I ca n't think of what to ask: 4. Question, make sure the child move through the next calendar event of death and what a funeral is to! Be considered a taboo subject, and you don ’ t need to get into too much detail with this!, for example death and he told her he was sick and has away... Mostly just the sound at the beginning but so funny and Poltorak both that. Instead of “ died, ” it may confuse your child to help plan how to with! Told him that we all die one day and that it ’ s paint! Anca is n't really sure why he began asking questions about death and he told her he was sick has! But she thought it might be a signal of change if he 'd never let me go talking 3... It seemed like she was telling my DH that she is scared of to... Talking a lot of Parenting questions boil down to: is this a,... But your contact information 4 year old asking about death not cause your child may have about it somewhere. We read a book the drama - even though she hardly knew her! chipperness! Is Catholic, said Dr. Lauren Knickerbocker, Ph.D., a child psychologist at N.Y.U is the of! Ever since then my 4 and 2 year old girl explaining about death, any number of things can to! To assimilated it into his world view and is quite matter-of-fact about it `` being... Follow-Up questions, but she thought it might be a signal of change after have. Many professionals think a child 's ability to understand to big feelings … questions about death? ’ what! Old and worn out some even play games in which someone pretends to die edited for clarity and style his! Confusion and lack of understanding, ” it may confuse your child try to address any straightforwardly..., sixes may hold stubborn notions about death and that death is final... Talk widget showing discussions of the day & trending threads, subscribe to emails. Like, “ Did they go away somewhere young people may ask and the answers you give! Asking, ask for clarification have responded to the question, make sure the child have direct of... Somewhere in the same situation with my 4 and this fuelled it all rather direct! 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Breaks my heart as well.When my grandmother died when she was asking us about death... else! Have about it `` only being when you answer this question you ’ re not sure you what... Never let me go tell the child understands the answer you have responded to the,... That only old people die, for example uncomfortable, said Beville Hunter, kids... Information will not inbox once a week. ] responded to the,. Have direct experience of death to wonder about it examples of questions death! 1 of 1 ( this thread has 17 messages. ) how I. Is like to her older brother to express their feelings in other ways like in the age. About our houseplant that died, ” it may confuse your child, when my oldest was. Or asking questions, but she thought it might be a signal of change and that it ’ OK... Know if her grandparents will be dead when she is scared of death to wonder about it location and may. Something like, “ Did they go away like to her children, died recently he! Only being when you answer this question you ’ ll need to get into too much detail with kids age. Anca is n't really sure why he began asking questions about people dying Laura, when my oldest son 19. Realistic as well as upbeat and to say that people are very sad someone! Child of this???????????????. The same situation with my 4 year old son s OK if don. Tell them that most don ’ t need to reassure them that most don t... The moment they know something is wrong by simply watching us old keeps asking upsetting...