Dear Miss School Manners:
My mom and I were talking about my grandpa, who passed away when I was like 18. It was a light chat about how great he was, etc., when my kindergartner, Sofia, chimes in, “Does everybody die?” Without thinking or hesitating, I said yes, but she didn’t have to worry because it would be a long time till we left, and that’s why it’s important that we eat right and exercise and take care of ourselves, etc. Since then, she’s still asking questions. She’s a bit worried and as she put it, “It makes me sad.”
Eek. Now what? I looked at Barnes & Noble this weekend, but no book was quite right.
Signed, Anxious in Antioch
Dear A in A: Sounds like you handled that so well! But your daughter’s worries are a natural thing and you’re on the right track with the book idea. Stories can be very comforting, says Pleasanton child psychologist Jacqueline Golding, because they show children they’re not alone in their feelings…
(Read more after the jump. Or write to Miss School Manners now.)
Kids draw hope from the resolution of a character’s problems, Golding says, and the very act of nestling together to read a book aloud is “a wonderful thing.”
For children who are grieving or worrying about death, Golding recommends “A Story for Hippo” by Simon Puttock, “The Blue Roses” by Linda Boyden or “The Tenth Good Thing About Barney,” a classic by Judith Viorst. When a little boy’s beloved cat dies, his mother suggests they hold a funeral and that he come up with, in essence, a eulogy – 10 good things about Barney. Very sweet, very gentle, highly recommended.
- Miss School Manners