Video: How Do I Explain Death to My Young Child

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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