So as far as my mom life has gone lately, the past few weeks I have had a few a-ha moments and a few uh-oh moments.
The a-ha moment being the constant question that every 3 and 4 year old asks. Need I say it? Yes, you guessed it.
It is something that every child asks at this age and it is really cute at times and when I have free moments I love teaching my children the whys of the universe. But at other times I swear my child asks me why over and over because she thinks it's really funny. Over and over. And "Let it Go..." anyone? anyone? Yes, Frozen has also taken over my house.
Anyway, so I decided that even when I don't feel like taking the time in answering her 'why' questions in an insightful way, I try to also teach her how to try to figure things out for herself by asking "what do you think?"
Turning the question around helps me not get a little aggravated at the constant questions but it also teaches her to be insightful, use deductive reasoning and use her imagination. So when you can't take hearing 'why mommy? why, why why?" one more time, try turning it around. A great teaching tool and it makes you feel less like Groundhog Day.
So my uh-oh moment came last week when my preschool daughter asked where her grandmother was. Uhm? My husband's mother passed away when he was in college. Yep. She is finally asking these hard ones. My preschooler is really getting interested in learning about families: what an Uncle means, how my mom is her Coco and my mom at the same time, etc. So when she asked where her daddy's mommy was, I was like, 'oohhh, well, uhm, yeah, she, is well, she is not living anymore."
Oh, the death question! This is when I wish children could remain innocent and 2 years old forever. But alas, they must grow up and learn about violence, guns, death, murder and yes death. And thanks Disney for introducing this fine topic to preschoolers. Why do all of the mothers and daddies have to be dead? Seriously.
Anyway, so I looked in my collection of counseling books about death to read to my 3.5 year old and realized the ones I have aren't all that great. Hmm, maybe I need to write one myself. My favorite one for young kids is The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages (12$ Amazon):
It's a classic story about leaves that grow, get old, and with the changes of the season, die. It doesn't talk about what happens after, which is kind of good so you as a parent can then tell your children your own beliefs. It's a little long but still the best I have found for a young age.
The only other book on the topic is the When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death (7$ Amazon)
and good grief. Soo not appropriate until your child is older in grade school. It talks about reasons people die like drugs, suicide and then the pictures of an 'accident' is a little too graphic and scary. Just click on the link above and then click on the 'look inside' feature. You'll see what I'm talking about.
So after our little talk about how when people get old, they die, she heard me talking to her Grandpa on the phone and said, "mommy, Grandpa is old, so he is going to die soon." Great. Way to scare my child. But at least I say it matter of factly and don't make a super huge deal out of it, so it doesn't sound scary and she goes right back to playing.
And remember, for children death is something that is very hard to grasp. This is why suicide can be so scary for children because they don't understand that death is final. They think it's like going to sleep and then you wake up. So as much as we want to sugar coat the topic, we also need them to know the seriousness of it. Wow, I so did not mean to get into the whole 'how do you talk to your kids about death topic' so I will stop here for now :)