Our expert says:
There are a number of rather good books providing detailed guidance on this, all of them American ( check out take2 for buying, and amazon.com for reviews and info. As you've noticed, kids tend to be very literal, and take our attempts at being vaguely poetic as very literal.
Its usually better, rather than starting with more religious viewpoints, to start with the realisty. By 7 she will have some ideas about death - nature and children don't endure a vacuum. So talk about what she already knows about death ( some of it may be unhelpfully mistaken, and nows your chance to correct it. She will have heard of death on TV and in story and TV/movie characters, pets may have died, and so on. Get to understand how she already thinks of it, then build your discussion around that, to explain how grandfather has died - how you believe his spirit has gone to live with Jesus, if you like - but that his body will not work or be with us any more, and will be buried at the funeral, where we will gather to remember him and how much we loved him. Discuss how the body is the physical thing we see and touch, and how inside we have a spirit, which is shown through our words and deeds, but not directly touchable in a physical sense.
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