Helping children grieve the loss of a pet is a difficult situation for many parents. A pet is like a family member and best friend for most children. Undoubtedly, losing a pet is a horrible feeling. Adults can be crushed by it, and it is just as bad for children. You can not protect your child from the loss of a loved pet, but you can help them cope with it. If you teach your little one to understand their feelings it will make it easier for them to deal with similar difficult situations in the future. In the following article, we’ll dive into helping children grieve the loss of a pet.
Helping Children Grieve the Loss of a Pet
Just telling your child that they won’t see their pet again is difficult. Some parents try to sell made-up stories to their kids, but experts agree that the truth is always the best. Tell your child what happened – and you don’t have to pretend you aren’t hurt. Show them that you’re in pain and be open about it. Doing this will show compassion and let your child know that they are not alone.
In difficult times of grief, it’s important to ensure that you and your children are on the same team. Listen to them while they speak about their feelings and fears. If they don’t want to talk, encourage them to do so because it will make them feel better. Some of the most important things for children when dealing with grief is the support and unity with their parents; and even now, in adulthood, being with a close-knit, loving partner gives the necessary support in overcoming traumatic situations.
One idea to get their mind in a better place is to ask them to say goodbye to their pet in a creative way. Tell them to draw their pet so they have something that’ll remind them of their friend. You can also show your support by watching a pet related movie or a cartoon. If you’re more into books than movies, choose a children’s book that deals with some levels of grief.
Give Your Child a New Joy
One of the best ways to defeat sadness is to do something joyful. Take your family on a trip. Go somewhere where they always wanted to go. Make it all about them on that trip. You don’t even have to leave your town to pour joy back to the heart of your little miracles. Sign them up for a new hobby, and they’ll heal faster because they’ll make friends, learn new things, and hopefully keep their mind occupied on other things.
Help Animals in the Shelter
Helping animals in the shelter is a great way to show your children that all the animals need our help and love. You can spend a weekend helping dogs in honor of your lost pet. Kids will connect with animals in the shelter, and they’ll want to help them again.
Remember the Pet at Its Best
Pets are bundles of joy for their owners, especially for kids. Luckily we live in a digital world, so you’ll surely have some photos and videos of your pet to remember it. But there is an even better way to make sure your child will remember your pet. You can create a custom stuffed animal that looks like your pet. That’ll give your kids a chance to hug their pet again.
If you don’t get a stuffed animal or anything physical, talk with your child so they can keep memories of their pet alive. Remind them how funny their pet was or how smart it was. Just make sure they remember it at its best.
Do Not Rush to Get a New Pet
You don’t always want to jump headfirst into adopting another pet immediately after losing your previous one. Introducing a new pet into your family requires your utmost attention and patience. It is likely your new pet won’t get this attention if your mind is occupied elsewhere. For more information on this topic, feel free to check out our full blog post on when to adopt a new pet after the previous one passed away. Chatting with otherswho experienced the loss of a pet in childhood, it turns out that the most important thing for them was support and unity with their parents; and even now, in adulthood, being with a close-knit, loving partner gives the necessary support in overcoming traumatic situations.
Helping children grieve the loss of a pet is not an easy task. We hope these tips are helpful when dealing with children who have lost a pet. Your job as a parent is not easy, but if handled correctly, it may make your relationship even stronger than before.