5 Child-Friendly Ways To Grieve The Loss Of The Family Pet

  • 24/07/2019
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For most families, the beloved dog or cherished cat is as much part of the family as any other member. So, when the worst happens, grief can be overwhelming, especially for children. Generally, the loss of a pet will be your child’s first experience with death of any kind and so understanding how to help them deal with it is paramount to creating a healthy relationship with the inevitable.

Although sorrow and sadness are par for the course, there are a few ways that you can actually help your child through the loss of their pet in a positive way. Here are 5 child-friendly things you can do to help.

Paint portraits

Children love to get creative, so get out the pens and paints and have an afternoon of painting or drawing. This kind of activity can be extremely therapeutic for your children and can provide a way to express themselves in a way they know how. The likelihood is that your little one is going through some emotions that he doesn’t quite understand. Creating a beautiful piece of art serves to help him through the tough times.

Hold a ceremony

A pet funeral is a lovely way to help your children get some closure after their pet has passed. Often, pets are cremated at the veterinary clinic and so you could purchase a wooden urn to be buried in your garden. Encourage your children to share a memory of your pet (but don’t force them!) and allow them to place in any trinkets they would like your pet to have. Planting a tree over the site also gives your child a place to go to remember your pet whenever they are feeling lonely or missing them. Let your little ones know that it is quite normal for people to visit memorial sites just to talk to their lost loved one, even if they won’t talk back.

Create a tribute video

We all have hundreds of videos on our phones nowadays, but rarely do we put together a family movie. Go through your archives and find any videos you might have of your pet and put them together in a compilation for your children to watch. You can either do this as a surprise or have them involved in the process. Sifting through old videos can be tedious but the excitement your children will feel when they spot your pet in one of them can turn a moment of somber into one of fun!

Read a book about losing a pet

It’s so difficult to know what to say to your child when they are grieving the loss of a pet. This is why it’s a great idea to invest in a book to help you do just that. Books like When Shiner Died and I Miss My Pet show grief through the eyes of other children and serve to help your child cope with their feelings in a way that you might not be able to.

When your child does voice their feelings of sadness or loneliness, you can cite the book and encourage them to remember what happened to the characters within.

Buy a stuffed toy

Although nothing will ever replace your pet, a stuffed toy which looks similar to the beloved family member can really provide some comfort. It is important, though, that you make sure you don’t confuse your children by telling them that the toy is your late pet though. It is tempting to do so in order to ease their pain but it will only lead to delayed grief and a bewildered little one!

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