It’s a conundrum every parent will face – how do you explain the death of a beloved pet to a very young child?
Do you tell the truth? Do you ease them into it somehow? Do you outright lie and say they’ve gone to live on a farm?
TV presenter and The Saturdays singer Rochelle Humes recently came across this tricky-to-handle sitch, when her 3-year-old Alaia Mai’s goldfish passed away.
Since Rochelle’s got quite the Twitter following – 1.01m people, to be exact – she decided to reach out to other mums and dads, to see how they’d handle it.
She wrote: “Parents – help!! Alaia’s goldfish has just passed 🙁 Do I tell her in the morning the truth (in a nice way) or is the fish on holiday?”
Fans were quick to respond, with one mum suggesting she should: “Tell her truth. Ours died and we told them it had gone to fish heaven.”
Rochelle responded with another interesting point, noting that Alaia Mai was only 3, and she was confused about ‘when is too young?’ to have that chat.
Some mums suggested telling the truth, while many suggested softening the blow by saying he’d gone to the ‘big ocean in the sky’ or ‘heaven’.
While others were quick to advise not to say the fish had ‘gone to sleep’ – because that may lead to a bit of anxiety around going to sleep at bedtime.
Some suggested replacing the fish and not bringing it up at all – but many said to make an exciting adventure out of picking a new pet fish.
After all the advice, Rochelle and husband Marvin decided that honestly was the best policy…
“We’ve gone for honesty. Thanks guys. Sometimes it’s hard to know the right thing to do when you just want to protect your little one.”
We’re 100% behind Rochelle on this one.
We all just want to do the best by our kids – and that includes helping them understand some of the difficult parts of life.
Also, we think it’s really great that she felt she could admit ‘I don’t have all the answers here’ and sought advice from other mums publicly.
Makes us feel like we’re not alone! ?
What did you do in Rochelle’s situation?
How did you/will you handle the ‘explaining death’ talk with your little ones?
Did you make up a fib, or try to tell them what really happened as gently as possible? Did you mention ‘going to heaven’ at all?
Images: Instagram / Rochelle Humes