Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Leader Resource 2, Tips for Talking about Death with Children
Preparation for Activity
- Read the leader resource.
- Optional: Explore more resources for talking with children about death and other difficult topics-see Find Out More.
Description of Activity
Gather participants in a seated circle. Ask if any have known a person or animal that has died. Follow up by asking if anything special happened at that time. Did they go to a memorial service? Did they bury a pet in their yard and put a flower on the ground? Give children a chance to share. Then, say, in your own words:
When a person or a pet dies people feel lots of different feelings. They can feel sad, or angry, or guilty, or scared. One of the things we do together in our congregations is talk to each other about the strong feelings we have. We can show we love each other by listening and offering hugs when someone is sad. In our congregation, when someone dies we have a special ceremony called a memorial service. (Or, mention another ritual used in your congregation.) At memorial services we remember the person who died. Unitarian Universalists believe we cannot really know for sure what happens when someone dies, but, when we remember them, then their love stays alive in our hearts.
Including All Participants
If a child in the group has recently experienced a death, have a co-leader sit near that child to offer extra support as needed.
Some children may find it difficult to sit still during this conversation; some may express their emotions by becoming restless. This may be a good time to make fidget objects available. Fidget objects are fully described in Session 1, Leader Resource 4. They can provide a non-disruptive outlet for a child who needs to move or who benefits from sensory stimulation.