Children will give signs and cues
Being able to read the signals that your child is giving you can help you figure out if he or she is ready to talk about death. If he or she is asking questions and bringing the subject up, this indicates a level of readiness, whereas avoiding or changing the subject may mean that he or she is not ready.
Bringing up death-related situations that your child has already encountered such as a relative or pet dying, and asking them how they felt about the situation and where they envisioned that loved one now, can help them give death some context.
ASCO has many helpful suggestions for parents that include reassuring children that they will not be alone, and letting them express themselves through art or other means. Ultimately, if your family is facing a challenging situation such as this, communication is key. Be open with each other, your child’s healthcare team, and most importantly with your child. As the Cooper family demonstrates, even though it can be incredibly hard, families can work through these difficult situations.