No matter how old you are, losing a pet can be a huge shock; pet funerals are an overwhelming realisation that make your stomach sink and your heart hurt. While we all grieve loss in different ways, children in particular can really struggle. They’re not yet equipped with the emotional intelligence to process loss maturely. Therefore, it’s important to know how you can help them adapt and move on.
Breaking the News
It’s never a comfortable conversation to have and often breaking the news can be the hardest part of the process. In saying that, there are two primary things which can assist: telling the truth and speaking in a calm, soft manner. Tell your children in a soft, calm voice, showing that you too are saddened by the news. Ensuring your children understand that 1. It’s okay to feel emotions of sadness and 2. That you share the same sadness, will help them to feel normal and accept what has happened. If you choose pet cremation, you can also assure your children that they will never truly lose them – that they will be with them forever in a physical form. Telling the truth, however, is by far the most important aspect of breaking the news. Making up a fib to help them short term will hurt them long term and most likely come back to bite you when they grow up and realise what really happened.
Offering Emotional Outlets
It’s equally important to grieve and feel sad, as it is to distract your children. Emotional outlets are extremely effective at helping to channel sadness into productivity. Here are some effective distraction ideas:
- Schedule more play dates
- Go bowling
- Mini Golf
- Trips to the beach or to a park (preferably not a dog park)
- Go to the Cinema, Theatre or shopping
- Play sport with them
Acceptance and Planning for the Future
Acceptance can be extremely difficult to achieve, for anyone of any age. However, it can be made easier with pet cremation. It’s often hard to move on without fully accepting what you’ve lost. Pet cremation, however, can offer a range of services and memento’s which can help your children to accept the loss through a physical form of remembrance. Additionally, whether or not you plan on welcoming a new pet into your household, it is important to reiterate to your child/children that one day – perhaps when they’re adults – they will have another furry friend. Focusing on future plans is also a crucial part of moving forward and accepting loss.