Jump to content

How do I explain to my 3yr old where my Mum is?


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 flowermama

Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:37 PM

DD1 is 3yrs and has just started asking where my mum is and why we don't see her. Mum died just before I conceived DD1. I have no idea how to explain death to her and as it took me by surprise I got a bit upset. I said my mum had to leave which of course made no sense to her, she then was asking if Mum left because she didn't like her house, or didn't like us. I've distracted her for now but I do want to explain to her why Mum isn't here, I just don't know how to do it in a way she'll understand. Any help appreciated.

Edited by flowermama, 12 April 2012 - 01:38 PM.


#2 fancie

Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:45 PM

OP, I'm sorry for the loss of your mum.

I know this is going to be difficult for you, but I think you really need to bite the bullet and sit down and explain to your little one about death.

Let her know that usually people live long healthy lives but their bodies slow down and don't work as well as when they were young and full of energy and that eventually their bodies slow down so much that they just don't work anymore.  If you have personal beliefs about what happens after death then let her know that too.

I would also explain that everyone gets sick sometimes and lots of times medicines can fix them up, but some people get sicknesses that can't be fixed and even though they may not be old, that their bodies just aren't strong enough to beat the sickness and they die too.





#3 Country (deci)Mel

Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:46 PM

You are going to have to tell her "My Mum is dead."

Three isn't to young to understand dead. She's seen dead ants and dead flies, perhaps she needs a short lifespan pet to bring it home?

But as she never knew her Grandma it isn't going to be a huge trauma to her - just explain that she has a Grandma who would have loved her so much because she loved you so much.

Explain that you miss your Mum but that having a daughter of your own (especially one a awesome as your DD) makes you less sad.



*when my Mum died I was at a friends house and her young son said "Your Mum is DEAD!" I said "I know, and I miss her.", he then said "She was mean to make herself dead when she knew you would miss her - I hate *** his special name for my Mum*"

I (and his Mum) then explained that she didn't choose to die, that she would have been very sad to know that we were all missing her but that a good way to not be sad was to tell stories of things about her that we liked.

Even now (three years on) if I am telling a story that involves my Mum in front of that little boy he will explain to any 'outsiders' "Countrymel is talking about ***. She is dead but we tell stories about her so that we don't miss her.."

Edited by countrymel, 12 April 2012 - 01:54 PM.


#4 Melissa4444

Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:51 PM

We don't do the whole heaven thing, so I'm not sure if this is helpful as I know a lot like to include that.

Alexander and Sam are extremely literal, so we had to be so careful about the way we explained Mum's death to them.  We explain that Nana was a special kind of sick (rather than just sick, as then they're terrified as soon as anyone gets sick) and that sometimes you can get this special kind of sick where Doctors can't make you better anymore.   We simply explained that this special kind of sick started in her brain and affected her whole body and it finally stopped working and she died.  

We explained that when you die, that's it, you're just gone now.  That we can remember her, see photos of her etc, but that she can't come back. We tell them it's ok to be sad about that, that I am sad about that and that I miss her.

It seems to be enough so far. I didn't get into cremation etc with them. I honestly don't think that Alexander would cope.

#5 meljb

Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:53 PM

I've had to explain this to my 4 year old ds about both my parents, he first asked when he was about 3 I think. I've told him that his nanna and granddad died before he was born and that that means that we can't see them anymore because something in their bodies stopped working and the doctors couldn't fix them. I tell him that my parents would have loved him and his sister very much and that I wish he could have known them.
Every so often he asks again and I explain again. I also had to explain that it is a topic a lot of people don't like talking about because it makes them very sad.

#6 Guest_tigerdog_*

Posted 12 April 2012 - 02:01 PM

QUOTE
Let her know that usually people live long healthy lives but their bodies slow down and don't work as well as when they were young and full of energy and that eventually their bodies slow down so much that they just don't work anymore.  If you have personal beliefs about what happens after death then let her know that too.


This is what I would tell her too.  I tell my DS their father is in heaven and up in the sky 'fishing for stars'.  How to explain his (accidental, we believe) suicide is another issue to face later - DS (3.5) is already asking why he died, so far I've just told him his heart stopped working.

#7 new~mum~reenie

Posted 12 April 2012 - 02:07 PM

DS understands dead. Seen human bones on Time Team and sheep bones in the paddock. We have always been matter of fact about it.

We have photos of deceased loved ones around the house and he throws in a new question every now and then.

IE - a particular one we have is 'Nanna Mac'. She was my Nanna and I was very close to her. It crushed me that she died long before DH and I were married, but at least she met him. Also very sad that she never got to see DS, but I digress......

So, we have photos around and I say "That is Nanna Mac, she's dead now, but she would have loved you very much and given you great cuddles if she were still here"

then you get the questions like "Where is she?" we say her body is buried in the ground. He has been to the grave and we have a photo of it, but we need to go again soon so he can understand it a bit better.

I explained that Nanna Mac is 'Grandma's mum'. Then he asked who will his mum when I die. I explained you only get one mum, and when I die he wont have a mum anymore - but that is a LOOONG way away and he will be a Daddy with his own kids before that happens.

I suggest you get out some photos - and take you 3 yr old to the grave with some flowers. AND! share stories!! I often say things like "I used to come here with Nanna Mac" etc. and it opens up dialogue original.gif

ETA: Tigerdog - that must be a tricky one to explain - I think, like you, I'd save it till later...

I tell DS (who loves all things with motors) that things and people get old and broken, and eventually stop working. Just like a car will get old and rusty and the motor will die, the same happens to people.

#8 sparkle77

Posted 12 April 2012 - 02:20 PM

We had to explain to our 3 yo that her baby brother had died, when she had only just finally understood that a new baby was coming.  She still asks why, we say he was really sick and the doctors couldn't fix him, so he died.  When she is older we will fill in more details.

#9 flowermama

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:50 PM

Thanks for the good advice. I explained it to her this afternoon, unfortunately she is very sensitive and started to cry, saying she doesn't want to die  sad.gif I think I'll do as suggested and bring up my Mum in relevant conversations so that she gets to understand it more. It is hard but she does need to know what death is, I just worry that she'll get a bit obsessed with it (all her toys are forever getting sick and being treated at the Mummy doctor after she went to the doctor a while ago!). I think if I don't make too big a deal of it and just be quite matter of fact she'll be less likely to overthink it. Thanks again.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Teaching our son to say no to violence against women

Today, on White Ribbon Day - and every other day - we're teaching our son to say no to violence against women.

Mothers told to breastfeed in 'spacious' toilet

If there is one thing the owners of Tillings Cafe can be certain of, it is that the eatery won't win the award for Britain's best baby-friendly coffee shop any time soon.

Mother gives name to son dumped down drain

A woman who admitted to dumping her newborn baby down a Sydney drain has reportedly been allowed to give him a name.

Taking small steps to reduce stress

Are you feeling used up by life's stress, family problems and a demanding job you can't turn off? Many people are way beyond work-life exhaustion. They are functioning as robots.

Bad news: we're running out of chocolate

The world's biggest chocolate-maker says we're running out of chocolate.

Born at 23 weeks, 'Chopstick Baby' survives first week

A baby who was born at 23 weeks has survived her first week of life outside the womb.

Manic stations: the nesting instinct in pregnancy

It might sound like temporary insanity, but almost obsessive nesting as you near your due date isn’t uncommon – even if you’re not usually a particularly clean person.

How a baby can survive alone for days on end

The baby found abandoned in a Sydney drain may have been alone for up to six days without being fed, leaving many asking how he could have survived.

When it begins to look a lot like Christmas

A child's excitement at Christmas time is a beautiful thing, but one dad ponders whether his toddler daughter is getting into the festive mood a bit too soon.

Hospital lets dads the experience some of the pain of childbirth

A new experience is radically altering men's views of childbirth.

Italian doctors questioned over formula bribes

Italian police have placed 12 doctors under house arrest on suspicion of promoting baby milk formula over breastfeeding.

Heartwarming prank gives single mum the house she was hired to clean

Cara Simmons arrived at work to clean a large and beautiful house in time for a party planned for that evening. It was soon hers.

Those special moments of sibling bonding

Every now and then your child does or says something that is truly memorable.

Why we should stop telling new parents to 'enjoy every moment'

A few weeks ago, some dear friends of mine had their first baby. As the proud dad texted me a picture I had to fight the natural instinct to say “Enjoy every moment!”

Baby monitor footage posted online

Footage of Australian babies and children sleeping in their bedrooms are among the images on a Russian site showing live feeds from thousands of homes and businesses around the world.

Did this new dad really hit on his wife's midwife?

Was there really a man who was actually there by his wife’s side as she laboured and gave birth to his child, all while he was making what he perceived to be meaningful eye contact with a midwife?

Keep calm and ignore the Tantrum Trolls

Tantrum Trolls are a small but growing species of predatory bottom-feeders who delight in picking on parents at their most vulnerable.

It's okay to never 'get over' the death of a loved one

The death of children, siblings, and parents has long term impacts on the rest of our lives.

What Mark Latham needs to know about depression and motherhood

Love has nothing to do with mental illness. But love may drive a mother to do something about it.

'We're just trying to keep our child alive': life with FPIES

We have a beautiful seven-month-old son, and his allergy rules our life.

Transgender dad breastfeeds his babies

A transgender man who breastfed his first baby - despite having his breasts removed as part of his transformation from female to male - has now had a second child.

Couple face $1 million medical bill and bankruptcy after babymoon birth

A Canadian couple were slammed with a million dollar medical bill after their daughter was prematurely during their babymoon.

Cigarettes, junk food dominate supermarket sales growth

One in every five dollars spent at supermarkets goes on cigarettes or junk food, according to industry data.

Teacher under fire for breastfeeding in class

There is no doubt mums have a right to continue breastfeeding after they have returned to work, but one teacher in the US has taken it to the extreme.

Win a family pass to Disney Live!

We have 4 family passes to give away to see Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales, touring Australia this December/January.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Join PADDINGTON on the red carpet!

To celebrate the release of PADDINGTON, we are giving five lucky winners the chance to win a family pass to the exclusive Australian Premiere in Sydney on December 7!

The tragedy of losing a favourite teddy bear

We were green and uninitiated, perhaps a little naïve when it came to the favourite toy responsibility.

Video: Baby sniffs beardless dad to make sure it's him

She looks him up and down and then touches his chin, but baby Lindsey still isn't sure this clean-shaven man is her dad.

It's possible to workout while pregnant

Medical experts say intense fitness routines can be done safely during pregnancy - if the mums-to-be follow some guidelines.

What parents really want for their kids

Are our hopes, dreams and expectations for our children what they really need?

'I had a feeling something was seriously wrong'

Before even giving birth, Katie Myers' maternal instincts warned her something was wrong with her baby.

When your pregnancy causes a relationship rift

Some dads-to-be don't miss a beat when their partner is pregnant; others struggle with a range of issues and can become withdrawn, right when their support is needed most.

Couple uses group photo trick to announce pregnancy to loved ones

Katharine and Kris Camilli devised a clever trick to immortalise their family and friends' reactions to their exciting pregnancy news.

Why Tracey Spicer has given up make-up

"After 30 years on television, I had become what I despised: a painted doll who spent an hour a day and close to $200 a week putting on a mask."

Knowing you are one of the lucky ones

I am secure, confident and strong, but the responsibility of protecting my children can almost bring me undone.

Why I am so emotional now I have kids?

There are so many ways in which parenthood changes us as women, but one of the most noticeable, for me, has been the changing state of my emotions.

Baby survives despite sharing womb with 'foreign body'

Baby Maia was conceived against the odds, only to find she was sharing a womb with an ominous "foreign body".

Video: Baby shows dog how to jump - or vice versa

They say dog is man's best friend, but this playful pooch seems to have chosen a jumping baby as her number one buddy.

10 ways to soothe a crying baby

New paernts can get frustrated when their newborn gets fussy and can't settle down. When you're feeling overwhelmed, try some of these simple tips to help soothe your baby.

20 baby names that are becoming more popular every year

The data-lovers at nameberry.com have been at it again – this time, they’ve discovered the names that are continually rising up the ranks, ready to take out some top spots in the next few years.

10 great meals to make for new parents

Ideally, you want to give food that isn’t expensive to make, isn't too difficult to create, and freezes well; stews, bakes, soups and pasta sauces are perfect.

Weird pregnancy products

Some pregnancy products come to market and are just awesome. Others just leave you scratching your head.

Carers admit to force-feeding children

Twin brothers have become dads on the same day ? with their partners giving birth in the same hospital, and even the same birthing pool.

 

How many weeks til Christmas?

On your To-Do list

Get the "Santa" shopping done without the kids in tow.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.