Helping Children Cope with Death

back, that they can’t eat or drink, or they can’t walk and talk any more. Because children of these ages will likely not remember many of the experiences they have this young, it’s a great idea to write down any special interactions they had with a loved one for when they grow older. Save pictures or special toys for them to look at when they are older. Ages Four to Six Like infants and toddlers, children this age have a great need for physical nurturing and the security of knowing who will care for them. They are learning to express themselves verbally, but are most effective in expressing themselves through play. Although significant events such as birthdays, holidays, and the first day of school are major milestones to young children, they tend to have a poor concept of time and space. “Magical thinking” is an important characteristic of four- to six-year old development. A child may fly to the moon, fight monsters, and cook dinner for a hundred guests in the course of a few minutes of play. A child in this age group is capable of a nearly endless variety of fantasies. However, most fantasies are based on something the child has seen or heard, even though it was misunderstood. Bereaved children in this age group have a limited and literal understanding of death. Their thinking is concrete. A child this age believes that if anything is active, it is alive. A wind-up toy seems alive when it moves, and

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