Last night on NPR’s All Things Considered, they ran a story that started with an audio clip of Mr. Rogers explaining death in his usual gentle way. He dealt with the challenge by talking about a much-loved dog named Mitzi that he had as a child.
“I was very sad when she died, because she and I were good pals,” he said. Then he sang about being sad and glad.
LeVar Burton, the executive producer and host of Reading Rainbow, was profoundly influenced by Fred Rogers. “Kids have an amazingly accurate radar for being aware of what’s going on around them, even when the adults in their lives are pretending that nothing is happening to them,” he said. His recommendation – be age-appropriately candid with children dealing with their fears.
Let them know that it’s okay to express their fears, that they are safe, and get back to your usual routine.
Also, you can download this helpful PDF with information from Dr. Alan Wolfelt, noted author and educator on grief and healing. This information was made available by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).