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How to support your child when their pet dies 

How To Support Your Child When Their Pet Dies 

Often the death of a beloved family pet will be a child’s first experience of bereavement. The death of a pet can be a devastating experience for anyone, but for children or young people, the death of a furry friend can be especially difficult to process. Pets are often seen as members of the family, providing companionship, comfort, and unconditional love. When a pet dies, children may feel a range of emotions, from sadness and confusion to anger and guilt. As a parent or carer, it’s important to offer support and comfort to help your child cope with the loss. 

Here are some ways you can support a child or young person when a pet dies: 

Be honest and open

When a pet dies, it’s important to be honest with your child about what has happened. Avoid using euphemisms like “put to sleep” or “passed away” as these can be confusing for young children. Explain in simple terms that the pet has died and will not be coming back. 

Encourage expression of emotions

Allow your child to express their emotions in a safe and supportive environment. Encourage them to talk about how they are feeling, whether it be through words, drawings, or other creative outlets. Let them know that it’s okay to feel sad, angry, or confused. 

Answer questions

They may have many questions about death and what happens to their pet after they die. Be prepared to answer these questions honestly and age-appropriately. Reassure your child that their pet is no longer in pain and that they are at peace. 

Create a memorial

Help your child create a memorial for their pet as a way to honour their memory. This could be a special place in the garden, a photo collage, or a memory box filled with mementos. Encourage your child to share stories and memories of their pet. 

Offer comfort

Provide extra hugs and reassurance during this difficult time. Let your child know that you are there for them and that you understand their pain. Spend quality time together doing activities that they enjoy providing an alternative focus for them.  

Seek support

If your child is struggling to cope with their grief, consider seeking support from Jigsaw South East by calling our helpline on 01342 313895.  Talking to a professional can help your child process their emotions and learn healthy coping strategies. 

Losing a pet can be a heart-breaking experience for children or young people, but with your love and support, they can learn to navigate their grief and find healing. By being honest, encouraging expression of emotions, creating a memorial, offering comfort, answering questions, and seeking support when needed, you can help your child through this challenging time. Remember that everyone grieves differently, so allow your child the space and time they need to mourn the loss of their much loved pet. 

 

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