There are few things as painful as losing a pet you loved with all your heart. But things are especially hard for a child. Often, losing a pet is the first experience children have with the concept of death. It is crucial to tread carefully with your child after their pet has died. Discussed below are a few tips to help you through this painful time.
1. Prepare yourself
Before you help your child, you must prepare to help yourself. Losing a pet will be hard for your heart, too. Watching your child heartbroken and grieving over the loss can make it more upsetting for you. Make sure you have a handle on your emotions before you comfort your child.
2. Prepare your child
Death can often be sudden and shocking. However, sometimes you can anticipate that your pet is near the end – as in the case of a long illness or old age. This is the best time to prepare your child for the impending tragedy. Try to make them aware that their pet won’t be with them forever. Maybe looking at the way other people have memorialised their pets can help them understand it better. It is a difficult conversation, and your child might not want to have it, but it will make things much easier later.
3. Allow their grief
Grief is an integral part of coping up with any loss or pain. Forcing your kids to stop crying or smile will only suppress their pain, not heal it. Let your child grieve for the loved one they just lost. Keep an eye on them and tell them that you will always be around, whenever they need you. Apart from that, give them some space to mourn the loss of their pet.
4. Explain with the right words
The choice of words can be a deciding factor between healing and harming someone – especially when it comes to a child who may not have experienced death before. Simple things we tell a child about death can often put negative thoughts in their minds. For instance, telling them that their pet has “went to sleep” can make them afraid of sleeping themselves. As a parent, you must understand how mature and sensitive your child is. Choose your words accordingly to tell them about the death of their pet. Encourage them to ask whatever questions that come in their minds about it. An honest conversation can be just the right balm for their grief.
5. Do something to mark the event
Your child’s grief will change over time and reduce. But the event will still remain a painful memory in their minds for many years, hurting them whenever they think about it. You can do something to change that. One of the easiest things is to create a memorial for your pet. It could be anything – from a burial stone to a picture. Seeking professional pet cremation services might be a good choice, they have many options for the ashes to be returned to you. Whatever it is, it must be something that is entirely positive. The memorial will then serve to remind the child of the good times and love of their pet, and not on their demise.
The loss of a pet can be a scarring memory for a child. But with the right approach, you can turn it into a meaningful lesson of life.