06/28/2010 07:43 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

12 Ways to Help Children Understand Death (PHOTOS)

One piece of fallout from our taboo against talking about death is that we don't effectively prepare our children to deal with death. They are much more aware of death than we realize and need our support in developing a healthy understanding.

While age determines to some extent how a child will respond to the death of a loved one, each child has a unique journey of learning about death. Apply the guidelines listed below with sensitivity to the child's individual level of development, environment, ethnic, religious and cultural background and their exposure or lack thereof to the reality of death. Regardless of religious beliefs, death is about loss and children need our help to accept loss and to grieve.

Here are 12 ways that you can help children to comprehend death and to grieve the loss of a loved one.

12 Ways To Help Children Understand Death

Above all else, let children know they are surrounded by your love.

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Judith Johnson is an author, life coach, ecumenical minister and public speaker living in Rhinebeck, NY. You can learn more about Judith at