'When you’re dead, do you stay dead?'
This was the question from 4 year old Alice in the back of my car just as I was about to negotiate a roundabout.
‘What do you think?’
I said, stalling for time. ‘I don’t know,’ said Alice.
I can’t remember my exact answer, but it went something like this:
‘Well, nobody really knows what happens when you are dead. You do stay dead, but I think it is like being in a lovely long, cosy sleep.’
There was silence. Then a little voice piped up from the back of the car:
‘Can I play with my dolls house when we get home?’
‘Of course you can Alice.’
Phew! This must have been the right answer for that particular question at that particular moment. At 4 years old, it wasn’t that Alice was worrying about dying, she was just beginning to wonder about these things.
I think it is important to be honest with your children when they ask you a difficult question.
But you don’t necessarily have to launch into a long detailed answer or philosophical discussion. Keep it age appropriate. Very young children will often be satisfied with a short, simple answer.
Some useful parenting ideas here: