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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
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My niece Olivia is 3 1/2. Her Mother, Sarah read her a story

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My niece Olivia is 3 1/2. Her Mother, Sarah read her a story Olivia picked from their library.
The story was about an aging cat that dies in the book. Olivia asked does everything die.
Sarah (an elementary principal with special education background).
Said Yes, Wanting to tell her the truth. Olivia burst out crying I don't want to die. Well, Sarah's 18 year old cat died this week. Now Olivia is so upset about dying just a few days before Christmas. Olivia is very bright and gets things very easily. She just asked her prescool teacher "how does a child get off Santa's naughty list and on to the good list".

Help - how does Sarah help Olivia deal with this very real, but to yoing for a toddler to understand?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
Hello and Thank You for using Just Answer. Does Olivia think she has been naughty? Does Olivia go to any type of church? Thanks!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Olivia is so smart, she doesn't think she was naughty. Just wants other kids in her class to behave. Yes we go to church.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
Hello and Thank You for responding. With regards XXXXX XXXXX you can tell Olivia that we die, usually when we are old or get very very sick, because we do not need our bodies anymore. Then you can tell her that the inside of us, our souls, go to Heaven, which is a truly awesome place, to be with God, who created us in the first place. Just leave your explanation short and simple. Olivia will probably have other questions about death because she is thinking about herself dying as well as other relatives. Just wait until the time comes for the other questions.

As for the other kids being naughty, you must explain other that all people are different. Some follow rules and some do not. The ones who do not behave need a little help from their parents or from teachers to behave. Sometimes it may take a while for them to stop being so naughty. Tell her that it is important for her to keep being good and the bad kids may start wanting to be good like her too!!!

Happy Holidays!
proexpert37 and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
This book was read to Olivia over 8 months ago and she is still talking about death.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
Does she understand the terms death and dying?
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
Hello dear client. Olivia may continue to talk about death because she is not mature enough to fully understand what it means and why people have to die. Just continue to be honest with her when she asks questions. Tell her that death is a part of life but people live in our hearts forever after they are gone. As she matures, she will comprehend death better and have less anxiety about it.

Here are a couple of literature resources that you might find helpful reading and sharing with Olivia as they are most kid friendly:

What's Heaven
By: Maria Shriver

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf
By: Leo Buscaglia

The Invisible String
By : P. Karst

Happy Holidays!