How do you explain death to a child?

Jan 13, 14


This morning, Ethan saw a spider crawling on our kitchen cabinets. It was a Daddy Longleg. He knows those ones are harmless to humans. When I went home for lunch, the spider had found its way into Kitty’s water bowl. Unfortunately, it didn’t survive the swim.

Ethan was really upset about this, because he knows that long legged spiders are the good guys. They eat bad bugs and don’t harm us. To him, a good guy went down. I had to explain to him that everybody dies. That the spider just went to sleep forever.

Of course, we haven’t talked about religion or heaven. He’s still only 4. I don’t think he’d get the concept of philosophies such as metaphysics. At least, he won’t understand the concept as it relates to every day reality.

I’m sure we can discuss Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny all year round, but this is something more serious. In any case, even adults have a hard time understanding death.

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