Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How to Help Your Kids Celebrate the Life of a Past Pet

Losing a pet has a significant impact on any family, but especially kids. Celebrating the life of a past pet is an ideal way to honor your beloved furry friend and help your children cope with their grief.

Encourage Your Kids to Use Their Creativity

Scrapbooking is not only an enjoyable activity but is an excellent way to encourage kids to use their creativity to honor a departed pet through photos and art. This way of memorializing your pet is a great way to help your kids process their grief.

Another option you might want to consider is making a unique photo frame ornament featuring your pet’s picture. Kids will love having this reminder of their departed fuzzy buddy on the holidays. Ornaments with picture frames are also perfect for displaying on a wall or other location besides a tree if you so desire.

If your child is artistic, commemorating a beloved pet is a great way to help them hone their drawing or painting skills, as finding out how to deal with the loss of a pet is an integral part of emotional development. Displaying the art along with other items that memorialize the pet, can help your family remember the good times. Consider helping your kids add little extra touches to the artwork if they are receptive.

Have a Memorial Service

One of the most effective ways of helping family members mourn a pet is by having some sort of memorial service. Even if your family doesn’t have a specific religious background, you can use a memorial service or ritual to help your kids cope. Having a memorial at your pet’s gravesite or with an urn present will help add to the finality of everything for your children.

Allow your kids to take a full part in the ceremony in whatever ways they wish. Sharing fond memories of your pet is one way your kids might want to take part in this ritual. Readings from sacred writings, poems, or stories about animals can also be good ways to encourage your child’s involvement.

Some faith groups have suggested services that families might use the remember a pet if you need some ideas. Consider customizing what you do for readings or prayers based on your beliefs. Also, keep your children’s ages in mind when selecting prayers and readings.

Plant Trees and Flowers in Honor of Your Pet

Using trees and plants to honor your pet’s memory is a life-affirming way of demonstrating what your pet meant to your family. Having a tree or plant that honors your pet is an excellent way to help encourage your child to get interested in taking care of growing things, too. Planting the new tree or plant while you are having a memorial for your pet can be a good way for your child to understand the ideas of renewal and resurrection if these are part of your beliefs.

If your pet is buried or you have their ashes interred in your yard, a flowering tree, shrub, or other plant is a beautiful addition. Consider choosing an option that attracts butterflies. Butterfly-drawing trees and plants help provide a lovely place for reflection.

You might want to consider creating a shrine or memorial garden in the area where you plant your tree, shrub, or flowers. Consider putting in a couple of benches or chairs to encourage everyone to sit and enjoy their time there. Consider making a mosaic-style sign with your pet’s name, so everyone knows what the area is for.

Help Your Children Pay It Forward

If your kids are old enough to understand rescue and other animal-related causes, consider setting up an online fundraising page for a shelter or rescue. If your pet died from a medical condition that research is being done for, this is another type of case you might consider raising funds for. Your children can be outstanding ambassadors for a cause like this.

Also, consider off-line fundraisers such as a yard or bake sales. Kids can have a lot of natural enthusiasm about fundraisers that people will find difficult to ignore. Getting your children involved in an activity like this is one of the best ways to teach them the value of paying it forward.

Celebrating the life of a pet that has passed is an important way to help kids work through their grief.

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