When you’re a kid, pets are like family. The good news is that you can help your children cope with the loss of their pet by talking to them about the experience. The more prepared they are for the death of their beloved dog or cat—and the more support they receive from those around them—the better off they will be in dealing with this difficult situation.
How To Help Your Kids Say Goodbye To A Family Pet
#1. Breaking the News
- It is important to choose a quiet, private place. Breaking the news in front of others could make your kids feel more upset.
- Do not break the news while you are rushing or in a hurry. This will only make your child feel frustrated and upset because they will not be able to process what you are saying properly.
- Consider taking some time for yourself before letting your kids know about the pet getting sick or dying. Your pet has been part of your family for years, so this can be difficult for both parties involved.
- If your pet has been getting sick for some time then it’s a good idea to start talking to your kids about them being unwell.
#2. Helping Your Children Grieve
As a parent, it can be difficult to know how much space you should give your child, or what the best way might be for them to handle their feelings surrounding the passing of a beloved pet.
- Don’t try to hide your grief.
- Talk about your pet’s death.
- Follow the child’s lead in terms of what they feel comfortable talking about.
- Be there to answer questions as they arise.
#3. What If the Pet Died Suddenly?
- Explain what happened to the pet. If it passed away suddenly or died due to an accident, explain the situation rationally and calmly. Only share age-appropriate information if your kids are too young to understand the situation’s intensity.
- Discuss how long the pet has been gone from home and what you have done since then.
#4. Build a Safe Space
Once your kids have been told about the pet’s passing, you should listen to them. They might be sad, angry, or scared. You can always offer help by talking through those feelings with them.
The best way to do this is to build a safe space and let your child ask questions. Avoid making them feel guilty or responsible for something that wasn’t their fault, and avoid sharing any gruesome details about how the pet died.
#5. Finding the Perfect Puppy
It may be a while before you bring a new pet into the home. Even when you find yourself an excellent opportunity to bring a new puppy home, it will be a while before you find the perfect match. The information found at Uptown Puppies suggests that you can do so from the comfort of your home. Log in on a puppy finder website and scroll through hundreds of options.
#6. Always Keep the Lines of Communication Open
It’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your child. Encourage them to talk about their feelings about the new addition and share their experiences about the pet passing away. Initially, the kids may feel overwhelmed and sad by the sudden loss. Keep encouraging them to talk about their concerns or feelings when they’re ready.
Following the loss, the topic will likely come up weeks or months later. In such cases, you should be prepared to answer any questions. This is part of the grief process, and it will be of great help if you let them know it’s okay if they’re sad or miss their pet.
Asking your child to say goodbye can be traumatic, but you must explain why it is necessary. Explain that the pet will be in a better place and won’t suffer anymore.
What have you done with your kids when your family had to deal with the passing of a pet? Let us know in the comments.