Cemeteries do not have to be scary, Source: Depositphotos

Learning about death: Leuven organises cemetery walk for children

Learning about death: Leuven organises cemetery walk for children

Adults often have a hard time approaching the subject with kids, so city authorities want to help them set the stage for that healthy talk

To mark the occasion of All Saints Day, the City of Leuven in Belgium announced a new initiative to help parents and children deal better with the topic of death. Next Sunday, 6 November, the city has organised a cemetery walk for children with representatives of the Lucas for Life non-profit organisation.

The walk is open to children in primary school and younger who should be accompanied by one parent or a grandparent. During the walk, they will visit the Leuven Diestseveld Cemetery, talk about dealing with loss, and then have some hot chocolate.

An opportunity to think about life and death

Bieke Verlinden, Alderman for Care and Cemeteries was quoted in an official statement, explaining that children often deal with grief and loss in a different way than adults. Moreover, it is a subject that adults often avoid discussing because they are having trouble breaching the taboo themselves.

At the same time, she continued by pointing out that it is also important for children to express their feelings and talk about death. Everyone is confronted with it at some point and people should learn to deal with it as early as possible. Verlinden said: “Even toddlers see and hear what is happening around them and mourn in their own way.”

According to the city, the guided walk would help kids discover the cemetery in a very accessible way while approaching the subject and setting the stage to raise these philosophical questions. The presence of the Lucas for Life professionals would also help children address the topic in an open atmosphere and ask questions openly.

Trust children’s maturity

On 15 November, Lucas for Life will also launch an educational package in the Tweebron Library to discuss death with kids. Children have the gift of approaching very serious subjects in a playful and imaginative way or, on the contrary, a sober and serious way.

Talking to them about death in school or at home can break the tension about the subject. The educational package can help with this and it can also be used by parents at home, rather than in a group setting.



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