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It’s tough having to grieve a pet’s death. To children, this event can be heartbreaking. But they don’t have to go through it alone. Here’s how to help them cope.

Children and pets have a special bond, with the latter being children’s first playmate and primary source of comfort outside their parents. Hence, there’s no questioning the pain children go through upon the loss of their pets. Adults might believe they can quickly move on or care less about this loss. But to most, losing their pets becomes their first-ever heartbreak.

Adults need to understand and help them as they grieve a pet’s death.

Making Children Understand The Concept Of Loss

Regarding explanations about death, adults often sugarcoat it. They believe children benefit the most and understand it better when it’s played off as something out of a fantasy book. However, while it is a difficult concept, it’s proven that straightforward explanations are the best route for such discussions.

Instead of using euphemisms or “softening the blow,” adults must regulate their word choice and opt to be as direct as possible. This avoids potentially confusing children, especially when they’re at an age of taking things literally and wondering about every process in the world. Most adults would tell children their pets are already in a better place or in paradise playing with other pets.

Understand how this can be confusing for them.

Children may be fragile and innocent. But this doesn’t mean they can’t be told the harsh realities of life. For them to properly grieve a pet’s death, they must be told about all the facts involved in the event. They must know the facts regardless of how difficult it would be for them to understand.

This approach won’t only help them mourn and honor the memory of pets. An honest conversation will also give them closure that will help them move on quickly and welcome a new one in the future.

How Can Children Grieve A Pet’s Death?

Death can be a heavy event for adults. Imagine the weight of this to children.

While they may seem naïve about the concepts of illness and death, children also grieve a pet’s death. They don’t only celebrate its arrival, but they will also mourn its departure. Pets play a crucial role in children’s lives. For most, they’re the first companion children will have with parents adopting or rearing pets even before they are born. When alone, these fur babies can also serve as their guardians, ever-so-protective of children and their safety.

What can adults do to help them grieve a pet’s death?

Validate Their Feelings

The sadness pooling in their hearts may be the first profound emotion children will encounter. The loss of their pets may be nothing short of a confusing event for them. This causes emotions to go haywire, feelings crisscrossing, and children unable to express and embrace them fully. Creating a safe environment for them to do so is crucial during this event.

Adults shouldn’t forget to let children know they aren’t alone and that they’re also undergoing such emotions. This way, children will be validated, becoming more open to expressing themselves. There’s no surefire way to grieve a pet’s death, and children must be made aware of this.

Memorialize The Pet

There’s no better way to mourn than acceptance and treasuring their memories. Closure is best achieved when it happens naturally, when children are allowed to let go wholeheartedly. A way to do this is by remembering and honoring the pet’s memories. This can include making a scrapbook holding their best memories or performing a ceremony to celebrate their death.

Revisiting their memories and holding them close to children’s hearts will always be unique ways to celebrate their lives and the happiness they’ve brought.

Processing This Loss For Children

Children are still forming their perspectives on aging and bodily functions. Hence, grief will be an uncomfortable process for them, as much as death will be confusing. Throughout the process, it’s crucial to remember not to force anything to happen. Children shouldn’t be forced to let go but should also be reminded not to bottle their emotions up.

To successfully grieve a pet’s death, children should be taught to process their emotions appropriately. Adults should be there to guide them through the ups and downs of this happening.