Talking to Your Child About the Loss of a Loved One

loss of loved one

Reading Time: 4 mins 

Suitable for: Families of primary-age children

Read the secondary-age version of this QUICK READ


Telling a child someone has died may be the hardest thing you ever do. Whether it be a family pet, a grandparent or other loved ones, the conversation is not going to be an easy one. But a natural part of life is learning to experience death, and every child at some point will face bereavement.

While it’s impossible to shelter children from the loss of a loved one, there are ways in which you help children cope and grieve.

How do children understand death?

  • Under 6 months:
    At this age, babies will have no understanding of death but will notice if their main caregiver is absent.

  • 6 months to 2 years:
    At this age, children still won’t have any understanding of death, but they will be very upset if their main caregiver is absent. At around 2, children start to notice the absence of other people, for example, a grandparent.




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