Video: How Do I Explain Death to My Young Child

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 11:56 am

In this brief video, NHS Health Visitor Ruth discusses how to explain death to your young child and help them with the grieving process.

Editor’s Note: Video Highlights


  • Babies do not understand death, but they do recognize when someone they love is missing so they may have feeding and sleeping difficulties.
  • It will be helpful to:
    • Continuously reassure them
    • Maintain routines

2 Years and Older

  • At this age, children see death as reversible.
  • It will be helpful to:
    • Be specific – tell them someone has died – not is “gone”
    • Verify their understanding and clarify questions
    • Maintain routines including playtime
    • Reassure them that they are in no way responsible for the death of their loved one
  • Understand that they may not express their grief – this is not a sign they aren’t experiencing it
    • They may ask the same questions repeatedly to check that facts haven’t changed
    • Talk with them about their feelings when they are ready
  • Help them find a way to remember their loved one by looking through photos or creating a memory book


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About the Author

NHS Choices ( is the UK’s biggest health website. It provides a comprehensive health information service to help put you in control of your healthcare.


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