Chapter 6: Preparing for an approaching death

When they don't want to visit

The expert says
Andrea Warnick, children's grief therapist, talks about asking children if they'd like to be present at the death.(3:22)Video transcript

I don't know what to do. Marcus refuses to see his dad in hospice. I'm worried he'll regret it when's older. And his dad really misses him. 


Children who don’t want to visit a dying person should never be forced or made to feel guilty in any way. Instead, it’s important to:

  • Talk with them about their reasons.
  • Help clear up anything they don't understand.
    • For example, many children imagine the dying process to look much scarier than it is.
  • Respect their decision and let them know it's okay to change their mind.  

Staying connected from a distance

There are many creative ways to do this such as:

  • Talking on the phone or by Skype – even if it’s a one-way conversation when the dying person can’t respond.
  • Doing artwork, or writing or dictating letters, that can be taken to the person.  
  •  Spending time in the same home or facility, but not entering the person's room.