The family pet is just that, part of the family. Helping your child to deal with the loss of the family pet can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to start the healing process.
1. Allow your child time to be sad. It is important that your child can express his or her sadness, especially if you are not feeling the same sense of loss.
2. Help your child to talk about what she or he is feeling and let them know you understand. Giving the child the freedom to talk about it is part of the healing process. It is important that a child not fear speaking up about their pain.
3. Let your child choose an activity to help them remember their beloved pet. Depending on the age of the child, they can draw a picture of their pet, make a memory box with a collar, chew toy, or picture of their pet inside, or make a donation to an animal shelter in their pet's name with their own money.
4. Consider starting the planning process to acquire another pet. Explain that you understand the pain of missing the lost pet. Talk about the need to wait a period of time before replacing the pet if that is how you feel. Discuss a time line and plan for finding a new pet even if it is months away. Giving the child concrete guidelines helps the healing process along.
5. Finally, put a positive spin on things by reminding your child how much your pet knew he was loved, and what a good caregiver your child was. Talk about all of the fun things or cute things your child and your pet did. Remind your child what an important role the pet played in your family life and assure your child the pet will not be forgotten.
Following these tips will not make the pain disappear, but it will allow the grief to be out in the open and start the process of healing for your family.
For more information on children coping with illness or death and dying issues, or health and safety tips for children visit http://heartfeltwords4kids.blogspot.com
Visit http://www.freewebs.com/heartfeltwords4kids/ for an interactive website where kids can blog or read articles geared towards them.
Terri Forehand is a pediatric critical care nurse and freelance writer. She has a passion for kids of all ages, especially kids who are fighting against tough illnesses and diseases. Visit her blog and website for more information. She is currently working on fiction for kids.