Children tend to get emotionally attached to a lot of things and when it comes to pets, they often give them the status of a family member. Now since most pets have short life span, sooner or later, the child will have to deal with the death of the pet. This can hit your child as a double whammy. Not only will the kid have to face the concept of death but will also have to bear with the loss of a loved pet. It is no doubt very important to handle this situation in the right way so as to ensure that the kid is not marred emotionally.
Some tips below on how to help you kid deal with the loss of a loved pet will help with the situation:
- Explain death – The first thing you need to do when a pet dies is to explain the concept of death to the child. The path you choose for this explanation will depend on the age of the kid. You could talk about how people die and become stars or you could make it less magical and choose the scientific path in case you child is older and does not buy the star theory. In any case it is important that you drive home the point that once dead, the pet cannot come back to life in any way.
- Involve child in memorial – Just as we would give a burial to a loved human being, it will help to give the pet a memorial service too. So if the gold fish has died in the bowl, don’t just flush it down the toilet. Instead dig up a small hole and bury the fish, and also encourage your kid to say a few words in loving memory of the pet. While this may seem silly to you, it does help the child to morn the loss of the pet and also move on after expressing his/her grief.
- Alternatives – In case of pets like dogs, the grief of the death can strike the child much harder. In these cases it is important to look out for signs of the child falling prey to a deeper depression. In case your talk and cheering is not helping try and bring in an alternate source on which the child can shower his/her affection. A new puppy will help the kid get over the grief of losing the older dog. In case you do not wish to bring in another dog, you could opt for other animals such as a guinea pig or a fish, etc.
Grieving is a part of moving on in life and so do not try and prevent your kid from mourning the loss of the pet. It is natural to feel sad if a child’s pet has died. However, in case the child is unable to fight off the sorrow, then it is advisable to seek some professional help on this front. First try the tips above; they might work well in helping your kid deal with the loss of a pet.