This is not easy and honestly, there is no really ‘the best way’ to tell a child their loving pet has died.
So, how to tell a child about death of a pet?
How To Tell a Child About Death Of a Pet
It really depends on the circumstances and their age. I believe you should always tell your child the truth in a manner she or he can understand.
The first thing you should do is to sit them down in a neutral place. Don’t take them to their favorite place, the park they love or a restaurant. They may always associate the place with the news and it will be ruined for them. Use the words that are appropriate and tell them the truth about their pet. Sometimes parents, in their eternal quest to protect their children from emotional pain, say things that are completely out of place. Give your child the news in a way they can process and with the appropriate emotional context.
There are some really nice books that can help your children to learn how to deal with that new emotion. For example, The Invisible Leash – it’s a story celebrating love after the loss of a pet. It can be interesting read!
When I was a little child, my parents told me my cat ran away. I was still sad about losing my cat but didn’t really learn how to deal with mortality. I believe that is the wrong way to go. I don’t plan to tell my daughter that our cat ran away or was sent to a farm. I will tell her the truth. I will tell her we were all sad about our pet and that we would miss the cat a lot. It’s also important to explain that it was ok to be sad.
Afterwards, you can talk about your pet and how nice she or he was and how much you all missed her. That will teach your kid the process of grief and grieving and that loss is just the part of life we have to deal with.