What do you do when your daughter tells you that she’s afraid of dying? I’m going to be honest, when my daughter asked me this question, I felt like someone had just blindsided me. Death is a topic that I, myself, like to avoid. But now, I’m a mom and my 6-year-old daughter has begun to ask me what happens when you die. It’s a very tough subject to try to downplay and strategy has been key to help her battle her fear. I am by no means a psychologist but I would like to share some of the coping mechanisms that have worked for us.
The power of prayer is REAL, you guys! So, I’m going to tell you right off the bat that I am “sacramental catholic.” I only go to church for weddings, baptisms and well, you can figure out the rest. This does not take away the fact that my faith in God is immense, but I just don’t go to church as often as I should. With that being said, I turned to my friends who are a little more in tune with going to church and they suggested I speak to my daughter more about Jesus.
YouTube has some great videos about teaching children her age about Jesus and his love for all of us. I also purchased a kid’s Bible that another friend suggested and it was great! It became our bedtime storybook. However, the thing that impacted her the most is praying every night together. She has created this sense of comfort whenever I pray along her side. She loves it so much that sometimes I’ll forget and she will remind me to do it with her.
Change the Topic
Before we pray, I always like to talk to her about topics that she likes. We are big Disney fans so I try to remind her of things that have happened during our Disney vacations. By doing this, I am flipping that switch from fear and negative thoughts to happy thoughts. Her birthday is also coming up so we talk a lot about all the things we can do for her princess party. We get down to the tiniest of details, and I let her babble all of her ideas (even if I know they sound ridiculous). Talking about these fun topics is something that sets a tone for bedtime and gives those pesky, unwanted negative thoughts the boot.
Sometimes kids feel comforted in your presence, but what happens when you have to walk away? I found myself in the same predicament every night where she would cry every time I left the room. I needed to stop this behavior so I grabbed her favorite stuffed animal and told her that this was going to be her sleeping buddy. So now she had to cuddle up with it and make them feel safe. It put things into perspective for her and I realized she fell asleep a lot quicker.
Love On Your Baby
Love is the best antidote for this predicament. Even though you don’t technically have a baby anymore, they will forever be your baby. Your job is to always reassure them that everything is going to be alright. This is a stage that most children will go through, and our job as moms is to give them all the love they can get. No matter what their fear may be, a kid who feels loved can tackle anything that is thrown their way.