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Pet loss: How to support children with this grief

The joy of raising a pet goes along with the grief of losing it

Experiencing a pet loss can be difficult and painful for children. This is an increasing trend as more and more households are raising pets and bringing them up as part of their families. Pets can hold a very special place in the lives of children as they deem the pets to be their best of friends and members of the family.

However, the joy of raising a pet goes along with the grief of losing it. It may be due to old age, accident, or illness. Pets can occupy an important place as they’re the first one to see the kids and may be the first ones to greet the kids when they come back from school.

While it’s impossible to stop the pets from dying, you can help the children in coping up with the grief of their pets’ death. You can break the news of losing a pet keeping in mind their age, life experience, and maturity level.

If the pet is about to die pretty soon because it has been ill for long or is very old, you can start preparing the kids by talking to them about how the veterinarians have done everything in their power to save the animal. You can also explain to them that the pet doesn’t have a chance of getting better.

However, do not attempt to get a replacement pet for children before they have grieved over the death of the pet. A child may feel like its disloyalty. Also, it could send the message to the child that when something dies or wears out, we can simply buy a replacement to overcome the grief.

Don’t know how to let your children cope after the death of the pet? Well, you can help them process their grief through multiple ways. Children don’t just cope up using words but can also use arts and crafts. By giving your child to express the grief through words and/or arts, you can help them process grief.

You can also ask your child to elaborate upon the picture and what they have tried to portray through it. 

However, there are more ways to make it easier. How about helping your child write a letter, poem, and story or even record their feelings and show them through your behaviors that adults feel pain too? You can also talk about all the happy times shared with the pet.

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