Maggie Dent, who has supported many children and parents when someone they love has died, spoke to ABC Radio Perth about how to talk to children about birth.
Here are her brief suggestions
1. State the (age-appropriate) facts, children can’t deal with loss until they know what it is.
2. Use words like death, and died, not words like passed away or went to sleep.
3. Explain when we lose something we love and our hearts hurt, it’s normal. Validate it.
4. Let them know we all need soothing (hugs and cuddles or a teddy bear) to get through it.
5. Help them create a special memory, which might be a letter or a drawing.
6. Get your kids pets like fish and guinea pigs so they can experience death as they grow up.
7. Don’t worry if your kids are sad, it’s normal. Don’t worry if they cry or you cry. It’s normal.
8. Children hold grief in shorter pockets than adults.
9. If your kids don’t bring it up, if the child isn’t talking about it, don’t bring it up. Wait until they come to you or they are showing signs of distress.
You can read Maggie’s article on the subject called Death Through the Eyes of a Child