10 Steps to Help Your Child Deal with A Death in the Family

Hello Loves,

Tonight I wanted to share something very personal in my life that I am currently dealing with. To put it out there CANCER SUCKS!

My grandfather has had Stage Four  Liver Cancer since July of last year and we knew our time with him was going to be limited. We had some hope because he was actually chosen to be part of an immunotherapy trial which was supposed to strengthen his immune system and fights the cancer on his own. This worked for a little while and the cancer even shrunk a little bit.

Fast forward to October, my grandfather actually ended up in the hospital for a week due to kidney failure. They were able to control his kidneys, but the immunotherapy had to be stopped.

Oct. 2016


Dec. 2016

Here we are in February and we just found out from the doctors at Hospice that he only has about 1-2 weeks left with us. This was definitely hard for me to swallow and I found myself in tears while talking to my mother on the phone during the Super Bowl.

The thing I keep thinking about the most is how I am going to tell my 6 year old daughter that her “Pop Pop” is going to be leaving us soon to go to heaven. I have been searching the Internet for ways to explain this to her and I came across these 10 helpful steps:

1. When talking about death, use simple, clear words
2. Listen and comfort
3. Put emotions into words
4. Tell your child what to expect
5. Talk about funerals and rituals
6. Give your child a role
7. Help your child remember the person
8. Respond to emotions with comfort and reassurance
9. Help your child feel better
10. Give your child time to heal from the loss 


This is something that i have never had to explain to her and I am hoping these steps will help her through her grieving process once the time comes. RIP Grandpa we love you!

 xoxo Jaimie Lyn

31 thoughts on “10 Steps to Help Your Child Deal with A Death in the Family

  1. I am so sorry you are going through this. I haven’t had to talk with my daughter yet about human death, but death of a pet is something we dealt with recently and that was hard enough.

  2. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I wished I could remember how my parents talked to me when I was growing up. I can remember very fondly being at several funerals growing up. Great grandparents, great uncles, etc. Your tips sound like great starting points. We have deep roots in our faith so talking to my girls about it is easier than some. My girls both lost a grandmother at a young age, and for them they just understood, thanks to our faith. It wasn’t easier of course, because no matter what you believe, death isn’t easy. However, it did make it easier for them to understand.

  3. Oh, I’m so sorry about Pop Pop. I know how hard it is to lose someone close to you. I like all of your grieving suggestions for little ones, and think that sometimes time and hugs are good ways to keep it simple and still feel supported during the difficult time.

  4. Death is a hard topic, but we all face it at one point or another. It’s good to be prepared, especially in knowing how to help others grieve and overcome.

  5. I’m so so sorry that this has happened to you. It must be so difficult and upsetting not just for your children but for your whole family. Sending hugs xxx

  6. So sorry you have to go through this. You’re right cancer does suck. Lost my FIL to cancer 3 years ago. Sad times. My mother beat ovarian cancer 12 years ago. Pretty much we all know someone close to use battling cancer. It sucks. Just know that there are groups you and your daughter can talk to during this difficult time

  7. I’m so sorry that your family is going through this right now. I think all of these are great points for how to talk to children about people passing on and a good thing to prepare them rather than avoid it. Children are so perceptive, I feel like mine already know so much sometimes without me telling them.

  8. We recently had a death in the family and it is so hard to explain it to children. They need to know what is going on and get over what has happened in their own time.

  9. This a really hard topic for everyone, especially for children as they do not really understand death and you do not want to scare them. Thanks for the great tips! I am truly sorry you are having to go through this ;(

  10. We’ve had quite a few deaths in our family in the last few years. Its something I made sure my kids had lots of help with. It takes tolls on us, imagine as a kid! its tough. These are great tips!

  11. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. Cancer does suck. My mom was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in 2015. She is still battling it and has had many setbacks, though the clinical trial she is currently on seems to be working. It has been a rollercoaster since the day she got sick so I know what you are going through. Every time she sees the doctor, we all hold our breath waiting for the update. My nephew, who is 5, knows Mema is sick but he doesn’t know she has cancer. My sister has thought about the same scenario you are facing now. It isn’t an easy one. I feel for you and your family. Sending my prayers your way.

  12. This is so helpful. I was looking for posts like this exactly one year ago when my grandmother died. They have so many questions and it is hard to answer when you are grieving yourself!

  13. This is such a hard topic to discuss with kids. My oldest is just now understanding that my grandmother passed away a few years ago and asks me about it all the time.

  14. This is such a hard thing to deal with. When we lost my grandpa a few years back it was tough to talk to the kids. One 8-year old asked to attend the service and we allowed it. It was a tough call but he wanted to go.

  15. These are really really great tips! It’s so important to tell your child what to expect and giving them a role is great too! I’m sorry you had to learn these tips, but you’re helping a lot of other mamas!

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