An Expert Explained To Me How Young Kids Process Death – Here’s What I Learned

For once, my daughter Cora* is careful while descending the stairs and does not leap from the second step. She comes to me wide-eyed, cradling something in her fist.

“It’s a ladybug,” she whispers, unfolding her dirty fingers. “He’s dead.”

At three and a half, Cora loves bugs, witches, the Rat King from The Nutcracker, and the friends she hasn’t seen since school closed in March. As COVID-19 has ravaged the globe, we try not to hide what’s happening from her, but we haven’t explicitly talked about death either. How has it snuck in?

Read more fo this companion essay to Lara Ehrlich’s Animal Wife here!