Thursday, June 17, 2010

Explaining Death to Your Children

We had brought to our attention by a Facebook Follower, Megan, that she had recently had a death in the family and needed help explaining it to her 2 year old. Another great follower answered her before we got to her and I think that she had a wonderful idea. We will share her idea and Megan's story to hopefully help YOU if you find yourself in this same situation. We have also included some other ideas we've found. We hope this helps!

The GLOVE exlaination: (from
Place a glove on the table. Explain that even though the glove is shaped like a hand, it cannot move like a hand because it is not alive. When a hand is placed in the glove, then the glove can move. Put your hand into the glove and wiggle your fingers. Explain that the glove is like a physical body, and the hand is like a spirit. Our bodies cannot move without our spirits inside them. Our spirits cannot be seen inside our bodies, just as the hand inside the glove cannot be seen.
Point out that earth life was not intended to last forever. One day each of us will die; our spirit and body will be separated. Death is part of God’s plan. When the spirit and body are separated, the body cannot move. It has died.

Other Things From LDS.ORG:

They That Mourn Shall Be Comforted LESSON FHE (below is some info from the above lesson)

ANOTHER GLOVE EXPLAINATION: Pretend that my hand is your spirit (hold it up). Each of you lived as a spirit with your Heavenly Father before you came to this earth. The spirit can live and move by itself (wiggle your fingers). Pretend that this glove is your body (hold it up). Until the spirit enters it, the body cannot move. By itself it has no life. When the time came for you to enter this world, your spirit was clothed in your body (put on the glove), and your body became alive. From your birth to your death, your spirit and your body are together (wiggle your fingers in the glove), and you are said to be alive. At the time of your death, whenever that is—in childhood, the teen years, young adulthood, middle age, or old age—your spirit will be separated from your body (pull off the glove and hold it up). Your body will again become lifeless (drop the empty glove). It will not be able to move because your spirit will be gone from it. Your spirit, however, will never die (wiggle your fingers). It goes to be with other spirits who have been separated from their earthly bodies.

Explain that this is what happened to the member of your family. His spirit was separated from his body. We all saw his body lying there like this glove. It could not move or speak. There was no life in it. His spirit was no longer there. Although his body is dead, he is not dead. The part of him that looked out through his eyes and allowed him to think and smile and act, to know and to be—that part of him is his spirit and lives on. He is only separated from his body.

Trusting Our Heavenly Father

Explain to your family that although everything can turn out all right, the time right after the death is very difficult because everyone misses the family member so much. Remind them that Heavenly Father can see and understand even more than the family member can. He loves everyone in the world and is able to know how sad and lonely they feel. Many times he has told us that he loves us and will help us through difficult times in our lives if we stay close to him.

CLICK HERE for more inspiring and comforting words from our prophets and apostles.

The Plan of Salvation Magnets(Megan):
There's really not a big story. About a month ago, a very sweet little infant passed away in our ward. Her big brother is a friend of my son's and their mom is a dear friend of mine. When I found out, Ben (my son) kept asking me why I was so sad and why I was crying so much. I wasn't quite sure how to explain death to a 2 year old.

I teach Primary (8 year olds) and this year, our first lesson was on the Plan of Salvation. I have found that the kids listen and retain more if I have LOTS of visual aids, so I always try to make something to help me teach. Plus, I keep all the things I make and use them for family home evening lessons. So, I made these magnets to help explain the Plan of Salvation. The one thing I didn't get a picture of was "the clear guy" (as Ben calls him)--the spirit that goes with the body.
During this sad time, when Ben asked what was wrong, I thought of my magnets and I tried using those. He's quite advanced mentally but I still don't think he fully understood much of it. So, I tried the "glove" explanation, but again--not really any lightbulbs flashing above his head. Finally I simply said that "Z" was in heaven. His got a giant grin and his eyes were so bright as he said, "She's with Jesus, Mom!! Cool." It brought tears to my eyes, and I simply nodded. I don't know that he fully understands death, but he knows that she's with Jesus and our Heavenly Father. Which means, in all my failed explanations, I did teach him SOMETHING. :)

My husband's grandma died this past week. Before we went to the funeral I did the glove explaination for my 3 year old. I told him her spirit is with Heavenly Father now. He said, "We need to go find her." That made me smile. He finally understood. When daddy came home, he asked our son, "Do you know where we are going this weekend?" My son said, "Grandma's with Heavenly Father and we're going to put her in the ground." I think it was a good start to teaching him about what a spirit is and where it goes when it leaves our bodies and where it was before we were born. He was so cute to listen to.


ludlowgang said...

I am so grateful that we have the gospel and the knowledge of the plan of salvation to get us through hard times like these. I think of the many times I've gone to a funeral and wondered if they know that they will be able to see their loved one again. It's the only thing that gets me through the concept of death. We will see our loved ones again. I don't know what I'd do without that knowledge. Great insights! Thank you for the post.

Itools Mobile Service said...

This is really good. I like it very much.

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