Those of you following our Facebook Posts will have noticed our engaging story about the robin’s nest we were following at my home.  On the fifth day after the eggs started hatching, I went to check on our fledglings and take a photo for Facebook… and unfortunately the nest was empty.

We let you all know the sad news on the Facebook page but then promised a short blog post offering advise and resources on how to talk to small children about these moments when Mother Nature seems less than kind.

We can talk with our small children about predators and the food chain when animals in the wild die.  We can talk about how animals in the wild have to hunt for their meals and about how this is one of the ways mother nature keeps balance in the wild.  There are some fantastic children’s picture books that explain this process like Snap by Mick Manning that will put the food chain into perspective for a small child.

That’s all very well and good when talking about the death of wild animals but what if the animal was a much loved pet?

Here’s what WebMD says about answering some common questions parents have on how to talk to their children about the death of a pet,  ‘Explaining a pet’s death to children in a clear, respectful manner can go a long way toward making the journey a little less distressful, and at the same time enhance your connection with your child.’

WebMD goes on to explain how children of different age groups deal with death and how to talk to them.  For example from the ages of 3 – 5 children might think death is temporary or reversible yet between ages 6 – 8 they know death is permanent but might feel it only touches other people.

Read the whole article here to get an idea of how to approach talking with children of different age groups about death.

There are many online resources offering advise you can find by searching, for example here’s what the ASPCA has to say about children and pet loss.

However, you can contact the Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service and speak to someone on the phone or via email to get personalised advise.  Plus they have some great support literature that can be either downloaded from their webpage or posted to you.

Whatever the incident involving death of an animal and your child, it would be helpful to let your child’s key worker at school know what’s happened so they can be understanding and help your child through this process.

Please feel free to talk to us a Circus anytime about these sad events or other issues your child might be going through.