How to Talk to Kids About Death, Grief, and Loss – with Dr. Amanda Thompson

How to Talk to Kids About Death

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE on iTunes and Stitcher

This isn’t the part of parenting that you imagined.

When you decided to get pregnant or adopt, I’m sure you imagined holding an adorable little baby in your arms. Playing hide-and-seek with a toddler. The first day of kindergarten. Laughing, dancing, going to soccer games.

Sure, you knew that it wouldn’t all be easy. There would be parenting involved, after all. Teaching right from wrong. Guiding through troubles with friends.

But helping your child grieve the loss of a family member, beloved pet, or other loved one? That’s not something we usually imagine–and so we’re often left totally unprepared.

In fact, this might be the hardest conversation you’ll have as a parent.

Sure, there are excellent books on the subject. Help Me Say Goodbye and I Miss You: A First Look at Death are standouts.

But perhaps your best guide would be someone who helps kids and families deal with loss every day. That person is Dr. Amanda Thompson. Dr. Thompson is a pediatric psychologist and Medical Director of Patient Support Services in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical-Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, completed her clinical internship in pediatric psychology at the DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE, and finished a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric psycho-oncology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH.

Dr. Thompson works with children who are battling cancer, guiding them and their families through all of the struggles and challenges that having cancer as a child can present. Unfortunately, this means that she has become an expert at helping kids and families deal with loss and grief.

This is an episode that you simply must hear–your kids will be glad that you did. After all, they are bound to experience loss in their lives, whether it is a family member or a beloved pet. And Episode 14 with Dr. Amanda Thompson will prepare you to help comfort and guide your child through that trying time whenever it might arise.

Listen by clicking here for iTunes or play it below.

Some Questions That I Ask:

  • How does a child’s age change how we should talk about death?
  • What kind of behaviors and responses can we expect to see in a child who is grieving?
  • How can you know when your child’s response isn’t normal and might require professional help?
  • How can we best prepare a child for a funeral or a wake?

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Why it’s important to give a child a chance to grieve
  • Rules for talking to kids about death and loss
  • What NOT to say when talking to your child about death
  • How to find moments in day-to-day life to comfortably talk about life and death so that your child isn’t unprepared when a loss does come up
  • How to create a healthy environment for your grieving child to heal
  • And much more


Important Resources


Share these images on Pinterest:

how to talk to kids about death, grief, and loss
How to Talk to Kids About Death